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 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. [1913 Webster +PJC]

2. Supposed matter above the air; the air itself. [1913 Webster]

3. (Chem.) (a) 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 an[ae]sthetic. Commonly called {ethyl ether} to distinguish it from other ethers, and also {ethyl oxide}. (b) 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. [1913 Webster +PJC]

{Complex ether}, {Mixed ether} (Chem.), an ether in which the ether oxygen is attached to two radicals having different structures; as, ethyl methyl ether, {C2H5.O.CH3}.

{Compound ether} (Chem.), an ethereal salt or a salt of some hydrocarbon as the base; an ester.

{Ether engine} (Mach.), a condensing engine like a steam engine, but operated by the vapor of ether instead of by steam. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • Aether — originally was the personification of the upper sky , space and heaven, in Greek mythology.The term aether, æther or ether may also refer to one of the following:cience and engineering* The aether of classical elements is a concept, historically …   Wikipedia

  • Aether [1] — Aether (Lichtäther). Die Erkenntnis, daß das Licht eine Wellenbewegung sei (Fresnels Interferenzversuch 1821), führte mit Notwendigkeit zur Annahme eines Trägers dieser Bewegung, des Aethers, der bis zu den fernsten Fixsternen den Raum erfüllt… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Aether — Aether. Das Wort hat zwei verschiedene Bedeutungen. Die Physiker nennen so das elastische, feine Fluidum, welches den Weltraum erfüllt, worin sich die Planeten und Fixsterne bewegen, durch dessen Erschütterung und Wellenschlag wir sehen, und… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Aether — Aether, die obere Luft; 2. die den Weltraum erfüllende, feinste Materie, noch immer unerwiesen, spielt in der Theorie des Lichts eine große Rolle; 3. chemisch auch Naphta genannt, ein Zersetzungsprodukt der Weinschwefelsäure, welche durch… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • AEther — [AE] ther, n. See {Ether}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Aether — Aether, Schwefeläther, Äthyläther; A. aceticus, Essigäther; A. bromatus, Äthylbromid; A. pro narcosi, Äthyläther für Narkosen; A. petrolei, Petroleumäther; A. phosphoratus, eine Lösung von Phosphor in Äther; A. sulfuricus, Schwefeläther,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Aether — vgl. Äther …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • aether — [ē′thər] n. former sp. of ETHER …   English World dictionary

  • aether — The ‘luminiferous’ aether was the medium that pervaded all space, and in which electromagnetic waves existed, postulated by 19th century physics. See action at a distance …   Philosophy dictionary

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