Definition of ethereal in English:

ethereal

(also etherial)

adjective

  • 1Extremely delicate and light in a way that seems not to be of this world:

    ‘her ethereal beauty’
    • ‘Amid the shots of astronauts and soccer players, the viewer suddenly notices an ethereal white light.’
    • ‘The lightning shed an ethereal light around the room as I looked to see what had disturbed my sleep.’
    • ‘After the rains the hills have an ethereal quality to them.’
    • ‘Interlocking together, the white lights gave off an almost ethereal glow.’
    • ‘This gave the film an ethereal, otherworldly quality that drew critical praise and, again, commercial indifference.’
    • ‘She looked as divine as she always did this evening, her golden jewelry jingling and gleaming in the ethereal light, and her soft, thin white gown billowing about her.’
    • ‘And more ghostly unicorns were emerging from the light, their heads held high, their bodies flashing with ethereal light.’
    • ‘Zurn, best known for her relationship with Hans Bellmer, produced a body of ethereal, delicate and haunting drawings during the most prolific decade of her life, the 1960s.’
    • ‘Perched atop a ridge and surrounded by thick clouds of perennial mist, the Tawang Monastery, one of Asia's biggest Buddhist monasteries, appears suspended from heaven in an ethereal way.’
    • ‘Her face looked peaceful, lit by ethereal moonlight filtering through the ghostly branches of the fairy tree.’
    • ‘This film is loaded with symbolic imagery, and it has an extremely ethereal quality, in part due to the score by Arvo Pärt, but mostly because of the director's use of movement and stasis.’
    • ‘The ethereal blue and green lights, coupled with the steam covering the stage floor, was such a necessary addition, that I knew that some sense of atmosphere could have been lost without it.’
    • ‘He was anything but earthly, however, his form a translucent pale blue and shimmering with ethereal light.’
    • ‘A near-full moon bathed the vast plains in ethereal light.’
    • ‘For whatever reason he could not guess, anger and annoyance were far from her facial features and the pale silver lighting gave her an ethereal sort of appearance.’
    • ‘The overall effect is that the colour seems to float just beneath the surface and the piece appears very ethereal and delicate.’
    • ‘Her voice is light but never ethereal, grounded but never guttural.’
    • ‘It was surrounded by a glowing ethereal light and swirling vapours.’
    • ‘The lighting is very atmospheric and stark which creates an other-wordly, ethereal effect as well as a smoky, nightclub atmosphere.’
    • ‘Her delicate features accentuated her ethereal beauty.’
    delicate, exquisite, dainty, elegant, graceful, beautiful, lovely
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Heavenly or spiritual:
      ‘ethereal, otherworldly visions’
      • ‘Drawing up our full psychic powers we somehow reached into the ethereal plane and lo and behold the stylus began to move on the board.’
      • ‘His spirit taunted her, mocked her from the higher, ethereal plane of existence.’
      • ‘We can accomplish these goals through mental effort and energy work in the ethereal plane.’
      • ‘Or was it something more ethereal, more spiritual?’
      • ‘As I was saying, everything spiritual - ghosts, demons, spirits and deities - inhabit the ethereal plane.’
      • ‘But it wasn't some ethereal, otherworldly experience for me.’
      • ‘From time to time she would go completely limp, as her spirit slipped from her body into the ethereal plane, feeling the ebb and flow of the thought stream that had caught her attention.’
      • ‘The other is an ethereal world, a spiritual world.’
      • ‘This is how I will live on, not in some ethereal spirit form.’
      • ‘Metaphysical poetry, which rooted religious experience in the natural world, gave way to a religious poetry either more cerebral and coolly rational, or else more ethereal and other-worldly.’
      • ‘Indeed, up until this point Mitchum has maintained such unflinching control of the screen that his defeat seems possible only by shifting him to a less ethereal plane.’
      • ‘The God of the Bible is not some ethereal gnostic spirit but a personal God covenanted to the people He chose.’
      • ‘And I'm quite aware later that I've been in a very special place; it's physical, ethereal, spiritual, it's all those things.’
      celestial, heavenly, spiritual, unearthly, other-worldly, paradisical, elysian, sublime, divine, holy
      View synonyms
  • 2Chemistry
    (of a solution) having diethyl ether as a solvent:

    ‘sodium is dissolved in ethereal solutions of aromatic ketones’
    • ‘Lipids were extracted according to the method of Bligh and Dyer, followed by methylation with ethereal diazomethane.’
    • ‘Separate the ethereal solution and evaporate.’
    • ‘The ethereal solvent was evaporated as before and the residue recovered.’
    • ‘The dried samples were methylated with fresh ethereal diazomethane.’
    • ‘The aqueous phase was re-extracted with ether and the combined ethereal extracts washed with water until free from alkali.’

Origin

Early 16th century: via Latin from Greek aitherios (from aithēr ether) + -al.

Pronunciation

ethereal

/ɪˈθɪərɪəl/