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 anæsthetic. Commonly called ethyl ether to distinguish it from other ethers, and also ethyl oxide.
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.