airy


airy
airy, aerial, ethereal can all mean as light and insubstantial as air.
Airy seldom suggests a transcendent quality; in its widest sense it implies little more than immateriality
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the poet’s pen . . . gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name— Shak.

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When applied to persons, their words, or their manners, it may imply an affectation of grandeur or putting on airs
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replied with airy condescension

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mere affectation of nonchalance
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airy refusal to take good advice

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When used of motion or movements, it suggests lightness and buoyancy
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the slight harebell raised its head, elastic from her airy tread— Scott

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Aerial in figurative use is found chiefly in poetry where it usually connotes impalpability, extraordinary delicacy, or elusiveness, and is applied to things rather than to persons
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mountains . . . fair of aspect, with aerial softness clad— Wordsworth

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the aerial hue of fountain-gazing roses— Shelley

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fine and aerial distinctions— Milman

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Ethereal implies not the atmosphere surrounding the earth but the rarefied air once believed to fill the heavenly regions and so imputes a celestial or supramundane character to the person or thing it qualifies. Sometimes it suggests an unearthly translucency
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fire . . . without heat, flickering a red gold flame . . . ethereal and insubstantial— Woolf

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so . . . ethereal in appearance with its cloud colors, that . . . even . . . the most beautiful golden shades . . . seemed heavy and dull and dead-looking by comparison— Hudson

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Sometimes, especially when referred to persons, their words, or their thoughts, it suggests disembodied spirit or apartness from material interests
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the ethereal quality of Shelley’s poetry

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at times he tends to fall into excessive subtlety, to be too vaporous and etherealBabbitt

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Analogous words: tenuous, rare, *thin: delicate, dainty, exquisite (see CHOICE): light, volatile, frivolous (see corresponding nouns at LIGHTNESS)
Antonyms: substantial
Contrasted words: *massive, massy, bulky, monumental: *material, corporeal, physical: solid, hard, *firm

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Airy — Air y, a. 1. Consisting of air; as, an airy substance; the airy parts of bodies. [1913 Webster] 2. Relating or belonging to air; high in air; a[ e]rial; as, an airy flight. The airy region. Milton. [1913 Webster] 3. Open to a free current of air; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Airy — may refer to:*Sir George Biddell Airy, British astronomer who is the eponym of craters located on the Moon and Mars * Airy (lunar crater) * Airy (crater on Mars), the smaller crater Airy 0 within Airy defines the prime meridian of the planet *… …   Wikipedia

  • Airy — steht für: ein Airy Scheibchen, eine andere Bezeichnung für ein Beugungsscheibchen ein Krater auf dem Mars, siehe Airy (Marskrater) eine Formel für elektromagnetische Strahlung, Airy Formel eine spezielle Funktion der Mathematik, Airy Funktion… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Airy-0 — est un cratère d impact de Mars qui définit la position du premier méridien sur cette planète. Il est situé en bordure orientale du plateau de Meridiani Planum dans la partie méridionale d Arabia Terra, par …   Wikipédia en Français

  • AIRY (G. B.) — AIRY sir GEORGE BIDDELL (1801 1892) Fils aîné de William Airy, il entre, à l’âge de dix ans, au Byatt Walker’s School (Colchester), où il se fait remarquer pour son habileté manuelle. Entré au Trinity College (Cambridge, G. B.) en 1819, il en… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • airy — [adj1] open to the atmosphere aerial, atmospheric, blowy, breezy, drafty, exposed, fluttering, fresh, gaseous, gusty, light, lofty, out of doors, uncluttered, vaporous, ventilated, well ventilated, windy; concept 583 Ant. close, closed,… …   New thesaurus

  • Airy — (spr. ǟrĭ), Sir George Biddell, Astronom, geb. 27. Juli 1801 zu Alnwick in Northumberland, gest. 4. Jan. 1892 in London, studierte in Cambridge, wurde 1828 Professor und Direktor der Sternwarte daselbst und war 1836–81 Direktor der Sternwarte in… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • airy — (adj.) late 14c., of the air, made of air, from AIR (Cf. air) (n.1) + Y (Cf. y) (2). Meaning breezy is attested from 1590s; that of lively is from 1640s. Sense of vain, unsubstantial is from 1580s. Disparaging airy fairy is attested from 1920… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Airy — Airy, G. B., Professor der Astronomie u. Director der Sternwarte zu Greenwich 1830 Nachfolger von Pond. Er schr.: Gravitation, an elementary Explanation of the principal Perturbations in the Solarsystem, Land. 1834 (deutsch von Littrow, Stuttg.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Airy — (spr. ehri), Sir George Biddell, engl. Astronom, geb. 27. Juli 1801 zu Alnwick in Northumberland, 1836 81 Direktor der Sternwarte zu Greenwich, gest. 4. Jan. 1892 zu London. »Autobiography« (1896) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon


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