Definition of ethereal in English:

ethereal

adjective

  • 1Extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world.

    ‘her ethereal beauty’
    ‘a singer who has a weirdly ethereal voice’
    • ‘Her delicate features accentuated her ethereal beauty.’
    • ‘He was anything but earthly, however, his form a translucent pale blue and shimmering with ethereal light.’
    • ‘And more ghostly unicorns were emerging from the light, their heads held high, their bodies flashing with ethereal light.’
    • ‘The lightning shed an ethereal light around the room as I looked to see what had disturbed my sleep.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Interlocking together, the white lights gave off an almost ethereal glow.’
    • ‘Her face looked peaceful, lit by ethereal moonlight filtering through the ghostly branches of the fairy tree.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was surrounded by a glowing ethereal light and swirling vapours.’
    • ‘This gave the film an ethereal, otherworldly quality that drew critical praise and, again, commercial indifference.’
    • ‘Her voice is light but never ethereal, grounded but never guttural.’
    • ‘A near-full moon bathed the vast plains in ethereal light.’
    • ‘After the rains the hills have an ethereal quality to them.’
    • ‘The overall effect is that the colour seems to float just beneath the surface and the piece appears very ethereal and delicate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Amid the shots of astronauts and soccer players, the viewer suddenly notices an ethereal white light.’
    • ‘The lighting is very atmospheric and stark which creates an other-wordly, ethereal effect as well as a smoky, nightclub atmosphere.’
    • ‘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.’
    delicate, exquisite, dainty, elegant, graceful, beautiful, lovely
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    1. 1.1 Heavenly or spiritual.
      ‘ethereal, otherworldly visions’
      • ‘As I was saying, everything spiritual - ghosts, demons, spirits and deities - inhabit the ethereal plane.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But it wasn't some ethereal, otherworldly experience for me.’
      • ‘Or was it something more ethereal, more spiritual?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The God of the Bible is not some ethereal gnostic spirit but a personal God covenanted to the people He chose.’
      • ‘His spirit taunted her, mocked her from the higher, ethereal plane of existence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is how I will live on, not in some ethereal spirit form.’
      • ‘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 other is an ethereal world, a spiritual world.’
      • ‘We can accomplish these goals through mental effort and energy work in the ethereal plane.’
      celestial, heavenly, spiritual, unearthly, other-worldly, paradisical, elysian, sublime, divine, holy
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  • 2Chemistry
    (of a solution) having diethyl ether as a solvent.

    • ‘The aqueous phase was re-extracted with ether and the combined ethereal extracts washed with water until free from alkali.’
    • ‘The dried samples were methylated with fresh ethereal diazomethane.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

ethereal

/əˈθɪriəl//əˈTHirēəl/