• WordNet 3.6
    • n ether a colorless volatile highly inflammable liquid formerly used as an inhalation anesthetic
    • n ether a medium that was once supposed to fill all space and to support the propagation of electromagnetic waves
    • n ether any of a class of organic compounds that have two hydrocarbon groups linked by an oxygen atom
    • n ether the fifth and highest element after air and earth and fire and water; was believed to be the substance composing all heavenly bodies
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: 'Crack' is the street name given to cocaine that has been processed from cocaine hydrochloride to a free base for smoking. Rather than requiring the more volatile method of processing cocaine using ether, crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water and heated to remove the hydrochloride, thus producing a form of cocaine that can be smoked.
    • Ether (Chem) A light, volatile, mobile, inflammable liquid, C2H5)2O, of a characteristic aromatic odor, obtained by the distillation of alcohol with sulphuric acid, and hence called also sulphuric ether. It is a powerful solvent of fats, resins, and pyroxylin, but finds its chief use as an anæsthetic. Commonly called ethyl ether to distinguish it from other ethers, and also ethyl oxide.
    • Ether (Physics) A medium of great elasticity and extreme tenuity, once supposed to pervade all space, the interior of solid bodies not excepted, and to be the medium of transmission of light and heat; hence often called luminiferous ether. It is no longer believed that such a medium is required for the transmission of electromagnetic waves; the modern use of the term is mostly a figurative term for empty space, or for literary effect, and not intended to imply the actual existence of a physical medium. However. modern cosmological theories based on quantum field theory do not rule out the possibility that the inherent energy of the vacuum is greater than zero, in which case the concept of an ether pervading the vacuum may have more than metaphoric meaning.
    • Ether (Chem) Any similar compound in which an oxygen atom is bound to two different carbon atoms, each of which is part of an organic radical; as, amyl ether; valeric ether; methyl ethyl ether. The general formular for an ether is ROR′, in which R and R′ are organic radicals which may be of similar or different structure. If R and R′ are different parts of the same organic radical, the structure forms a cyclic ether.
    • Ether Supposed matter above the air; the air itself.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n ether The upper air; the blue heavens. It was supposed by Aristotle to extend from the fixed stars down to the moon.
    • n ether In astronomy and physics, a hypothetical medium of extreme tenuity and elasticity supposed to be diffused throughout all space (as well as among the molecules of which solid bodies are composed), and to be the medium of the transmission of light and heat. See the extract. The phenomena of Light are best explained as those of undulations; but undulations, even in the most extensive use of the term, as signifying any periodic motion or condition whose periodicity obeys the laws of wave motion, must be propagated through some medium. Heat, while passing through space, presents exactly the same undulatory character, and requires a medium for its propagation. Electrical attraction and repulsion are explained in far the most satisfactory way by considering them as due to local stresses in such a medium. Current electricity seems due to a throb or series of throbs in such a medium, when released from stress. Magnetic phenomena seem due to local whirlpools, set up in such a medium. … We are led to infer, therefore, that there is such a medium, which we call the Luminiferous Ether, or simply the Ether; that it can convey energy; that it can present it at any instant, partly in the form of kinetic, partly in that of potential energy; that it is therefore capable of displacement and of tension; and that it must have rigidity and elasticity. Calculation leads us to infer that its density is (Clerk Maxwell) that of water, or equal to that of our atmosphere at a height of about 210 miles, a density vastly greater than that of the same atmosphere in the interstellar spaces, and that its rigidity is about that of steel; hence, that it is easily displaceable by a moving mass, that it is not discontinuous or granular, and hence that as a whole it may be compared to an impalpable and all pervading jelly through which Light and Heat waves are constantly throbbing, which is constantly being set in local strains and released from them, and being whirled in local vortices, thus producing the various phenomena of Electricity and Magnetism, and through which the particles of ordinary matter move freely, encountering but little retardation, if any, for its elasticity, as it closes up behind each moving particle, is approximately perfect. A. Daniell, Prin. of Physics, p. 208.
    • n ether In chem.: One of a class of organic bodies divided into two groups: Simple ethers, consisting of two basic hydrocarbon radicals united by oxygen, and corresponding in constitution to the metallic oxids, as CH3OCH3, methylether, or methyloxid, analogous to AgOAg, silver oxid. Compound ethers, consisting of one or more basic or alcohol radicals and one or more acid hydrocarbon radicals united by oxygen, and corresponding to salts of the metals, as CH3COO C2H5, ethyl acetate, or acetic ether, corresponding to CH3COONa, sodium acetate. Also called esters
    • n ether Specifically, ethyl oxid or ethyl ether (C2H5)2O, also called, but improperly, sulphuric ether, because prepared from a mixture of sulphuric acid and alcohol. Ether is a light, mobile, colorless liquid having a characteristic refreshing odor and burning taste. It is highly volatile and inflammable. It is chiefly used as an anesthetic agent, by inhalation. The ordinary ether of the United States Pharmacopœia consists of 74 per cent., and the stronger (ether fortior) of 94 per cent., of ethyl oxid.
    • n ether See the adjectives.
    • ether An obsolete form of either.
    • ether A dialectal variant of edder.
    • n ether A dialectal form of adder.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ether ē′thėr the clear, upper air: the subtile medium supposed to fill all space: a colourless, transparent, volatile liquid of great mobility and high refractive power, and possessing a fragrant odour and a fiery, passing to a cooling, taste
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  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “Time dissipates to shining ether the solid angularity of facts.”
  • Henry David Thoreau
    “The purity men love is like the mists which envelope the earth, and not like the azure ether beyond.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. aether, Gr. a'iqh`r, fr. a'i`qein to light up, kindle, burn, blaze; akin to Skr. idh, indh, and prob. to E. idle,: cf. F. éther,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.,—Gr. aithēr, aithein, to light up.


In literature:

Ether one oz., Aqua Ammonia one oz., Tinc.
"One Thousand Secrets of Wise and Rich Men Revealed" by C. A. Bogardus
Whence the inferior surface of the plate of zinc abounds now with vitreous ether, and its upper surface with resinous ether.
"The Temple of Nature; or, the Origin of Society" by Erasmus Darwin
Liquids, from the consistence of melted glue, or melted metals, to that of ether, which is the lightest of all liquids.
"Conversations on Chemistry, V. 1-2" by Jane Marcet
In this ether play the magnetic energies.
"Esoteric Christianity, or The Lesser Mysteries" by Annie Besant
I have in my thoughts the invention of ether-inhalation and the induction of trance in mesmerism.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847" by Various
Thus the distance between two successive ether waves will be very slightly diminished.
"The Story of the Heavens" by Robert Stawell Ball
Ether mixed with yolk of egg and water.
"Zoonomia, Vol. II" by Erasmus Darwin
The human body is quite insensitive to these etheric waves.
"How it Works" by Archibald Williams
Victor the god ascends th' ethereal court.
"The Metamorphoses of Publius Ovidus Naso in English blank verse Vols. I & II" by Ovid
For such reasons it is thought by some persons to be not improbable that the atoms of matter are minute vortex-rings of ether in the ether.
"The Machinery of the Universe" by Amos Emerson Dolbear

In poetry:

Her eye the pure ethereal blue,
Than that did fairer show,
Whene'er she watch'd a father's look,
Or wept a lover's woe:
"A Tale" by John Logan
While others, happiest of their kind!
Should in the ether soar,
As if no care would ever find,
No sorrow reach them more;
"Vignette - I" by Matilda Betham
To the star up in ethereal heights
A path so far to stray,
Thousands of years might have its lights
Been wandering ´til today.
"To The Star (Version 4)" by Mihai Eminescu
By day and night her sorrows fall
Where miscreant hands and rude
Have stained her pure ethereal pall
With many a martyr's blood.
"Gunpowder Treason" by John Keble
I get no answer, near or far;
The mountains, though they soar so high,
And scale the pathless ether, are
No nearer unto God than I.
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin
Anon a hawk, intent to strike,
In the blue ether hovering brown,
Flickered an instant, and, then like
Returning arrow, quickened down.
"Nature And the Book" by Alfred Austin

In news:

A Google search this week for the name of the Icelandic rock band Sigur Ros with the word "ethereal" came up with 396,000 results.
Ethereal runs on both Windows and Linux, sports features not found in many commercial sniffers , and, unlike the regular version of Microsoft Network Monitor, captures all packets promiscuously.
Installing Ethereal on Windows 9x and later is a two-step process.
The ethereal art that emerged from the 1960s and '70s is the subject of a new exhibition that is part of the Pacific Standard Time celebration.
We can't afford Rodarte's ethereal clothing.
Ethereal Brazilian supermodel Lea T radiates confidence—but as a teen she struggled with her transgender identity.
Lande, Art Waltz Ethereal Melissa Spins Away.
DJ Dug Martsch Sends Tunes Whirling Through the Ether.
Illustrator's ethereal work seen as a bridge between fine art , comics world.
Golden forests and ethereal mists make this the most spectacular of seasons.
You don't have to be a professional dancer to wear these ethereal tulle styles -- so en pointe for spring.
Cox said a meth lab gives off the smell of ammonia or ether, or any kind of strong sweet smell.
His stools, chairs, and tables are hand-sculpted from ceramic and concrete then painted with layers of glaze to create a multihued patina, giving the heavy material an ethereal luster.
So when looking for ways to make the most of the gorgeous color and ethereal flavor of saffron, meringue puff cookies were the obvious choice.
MUSIC Out of nowhere an isolated house groove surfaced from the ether of the Internet and touched an unexpected chord.

In science:

It is natural to assume that Newton’s gravity, which propagates instantaneously, should correspond to the limiting case of an incompressible ether (ρe = Constant). A compressible ether should then lead to waves of the ether pressure pe , i.e. to gravitational waves.
Scalar ether theory of gravity: a modification that seems needed
Summary of the historic experiments revisited In this section, the previous experimental results are reconsidered with the hypothesis that the ether is the permittivity, ε0, and the permeability, µ0 of free space (i.e., the refractive index n).
A revisit of the papers on the theory of relativity: Reconsideration of the hypothesis of ether-dragging
As described above, the complete ether-dragging hypothesis is compatible with the historical experimental results.
A revisit of the papers on the theory of relativity: Reconsideration of the hypothesis of ether-dragging
Ether-dragging and the stationary state Figure 6 illustrates ether-dragging by the gravitational fields of the earth and the sun. The ECI coordinate system (the gravitational field of the earth) drags the ether in the solar system.
A revisit of the papers on the theory of relativity: Reconsideration of the hypothesis of ether-dragging
Fig. 6 Illustration of the ether-dragging by the gravitational fields of the earth and the sun.
A revisit of the papers on the theory of relativity: Reconsideration of the hypothesis of ether-dragging