Word: ethereal

Pronunciation: i-THI-ree-əl

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Have you ever seen something you thought was so beautiful that it couldn’t possibly be of this world? There are many different kinds of beauty, yet my favorite by far is that which seems to have come from the heavens. There’s something so poetic about believing in a delicacy too perfect for the material Earth, so when I come across the word “ethereal” in a story, I can’t help but raise my romantic expectations!

“Ethereal” describes what is so light and delicate that it seems otherworldly. The word arose in the early 16th century and comes from the Latin adjective aetherius, meaning “heavenly” or “divine”. This adjective derives from the Greek adjective aithérios “of the upper air”, which in turn stems from the noun aithēr “ether”.

While its primary definition implies perfection, “ethereal” is often also used in the neutral sense of “spiritual”. For a more obscure meaning, it can be used in chemistry to refer to a solution containing diethyl ether as a solvent. Naturally, this is a popular word for defining a delicate and graceful allure, so if you like to create characters who fit this description, you’ll certainly be able to write some “ethereal” beauty into your stories!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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