Ether Definition in Chemistry

Diethyl Ether, Ether, C2H5OC2H5.

H. Zell / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0  

An ether is an organic compound that contains two alkyl or aryl groups by an oxygen atom. The general formula for an ether is R-O-R'. The compound diethyl ether is commonly known as ether.

Ether Examples

Examples of compound which are ethers include:

  • Pentabromodiphenyl ether
  • Diisopropyl ether
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
  • Anisole
  • Dioxane
  • Ethylene oxide


  1. Because ether molecules are unable to form hydrogen bonds with each other, they have relatively low boiling points.
  2. Ethers are slightly polar because the C-O-C bond angle is around 110° and the C–O dipoles do not cancel each other out.
  3. Ethers are highly volatile.
  4. The compounds are flammable.
  5. Simple ethers have no flavor.
  6. Ethers act as excellent organic solvents.
  7. Lower ethers act as anesthetics.


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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Ether Definition in Chemistry." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 28). Ether Definition in Chemistry. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Ether Definition in Chemistry." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).