ether


ether
ether late 14c., "upper regions of space," from O.Fr. ether and directly from L. aether "the upper pure, bright air," from Gk. aither "upper air; bright, purer air; the sky," from aithein "to burn, shine," from PIE root *aidh- "to burn" (see EDIFICE (Cf. edifice)).
In ancient cosmology, the element that filled all space beyond the sphere of the moon, constituting the substance of the stars and planets. Conceived of as a purer form of fire or air, or as a fifth element. From 17c.-19c., it was the scientific word for an assumed "frame of reference" for forces in the universe, perhaps without material properties. The concept was shaken by the Michelson-Morley experiment (1887) and discarded after the Theory of Relativity won acceptance, but before it went it gave rise to the colloquial use of ether for "the radio" (1899).
The name also was bestowed c.1730 (Frobenius; in English by 1757) on a volatile chemical compound known since 14c. for its lightness and lack of color (its anesthetic properties weren't fully established until 1842).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ÉTHER — La notion d’éther est aussi vieille que la physique, mais sa signification a considérablement varié, suivant en cela l’évolution des théories et les progrès de l’expérience. Oscillant entre l’idée de feu, de lumière et celle de représentation… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ether — E ther ([=e] th[ e]r), n. [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. [ e]ther.] [Written also {[ae]ther}.] 1. (Physics) A medium of great elasticity and extreme… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ether — Éther Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ether — [ e:tɐ]: vgl. ↑ Äther. * * * Ether 〈m. 3; unz.; Chem.; fachsprachl.〉 = Äther * * * E|ther [griech. aithe̅̓r = obere Luft, Himmelsluft; vgl. Äther (1)], der; s, ; veraltete S: Äther: 1) Gruppenbez. für org. Verb. der allg. Formel R1 O R2, wobei… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • ether — ► NOUN 1) (also diethyl ether) a volatile, highly flammable liquid used as an anaesthetic and as a solvent. 2) Chemistry any organic compound with an oxygen atom linking two alkyl groups. 3) (also aether) chiefly literary the clear sky; the upper …   English terms dictionary

  • ether — [ē′thər] n. [ME < L aether < Gr aithēr < aithein, to kindle, burn < IE base * aidh > L aestas, summer, OE ætan, to burn] 1. a substance hypothesized by the ancients as filling all space beyond the sphere of the moon, and making up… …   English World dictionary

  • ETHER — civitas in tribu Iudae. Iosuae c. 15. v. 42. Lat. oratio, sive deprecatio …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Ether — vgl. ↑Äther …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • ether — atmosphere, *air, ozone …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Ether — vgl. 2Äther …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung


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