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Webster 1913 Edition


Either

Ei′ther

(ē′thẽr or ī′thẽr; 277)
,
Adj.
& p
ron.
[OE.
either
,
aither
, AS.
ǣgðer
,
ǣghwæðer
(akin to OHG.
ēogiwedar
, MHG.
iegeweder
);
+
ge
+
hwæðer
whether. See
Each
, and
Whether
, and cf.
Or
,
conj
.]
1.
One of two; the one or the other; – properly used of two things, but sometimes of a larger number, for any one.
Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flattered; but he neither loves,
Nor
either
cares for him.
Shakespeare
Scarce a palm of ground could be gotten by
either
of the three.
Bacon.
There have been three talkers in Great British,
either
of whom would illustrate what I say about dogmatists.
Holmes.
2.
Each of two; the one and the other; both; – formerly, also, each of any number.
His flowing hair
In curls on
either
cheek played.
Milton.
On
either
side . . . was there the tree of life.
Rev. xxii. 2.
The extreme right and left of
either
army never engaged.
Jowett (Thucyd).

Ei′ther

,
c
onj.
Either precedes two, or more, coördinate words or phrases, and is introductory to an alternative. It is correlative to or.
Either
he is talking,
or
he is pursuing,
or
he is in a journey,
or
peradventure he sleepeth.
1 Kings xviii. 27.
Few writers hesitate to use
either
in what is called a triple alternative; such as, We must
either
stay where we are, proceed, or recede.
Latham.
Either was formerly sometimes used without any correlation, and where we should now use or.
Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries?
either
a vine, figs?
James iii. 12.

Webster 1828 Edition


Either

E'ITHER

,
Adj.
or pron.
1.
One or another of any number. Here are ten oranges; take either orange of the whole number, or take either of them. In the last phrase, either stands as a pronoun or substitute.
2.
One of two. This sense is included in the foregoing.
Lepidus flatters both,
Of both is flattered; but he neither loves,
Nor either cares for him.
3.
Each; every one separately considered.
On either side of the river. Rev.22.
4.
This word, when applied to sentences or propositions, is called a distributive or a conjunction. It precedes the first of two or more alternatives, and is answered by or before the second, or succeeding alternatives.
Either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he sleepeth. l Kings 18.
In this sentence, either refers to each of the succeeding clauses of the sentence.

Definition 2022


either

either

See also: eiþer

English

Determiner

either

  1. Each of two. [from 9th c.]
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      His flowing hair / In curls on either cheek played.
    • 1936, Djuna Barnes, Nightwood, Faber & Faber 2007, page 31:
      Her hands, long and beautiful, lay on either side of her face.
  2. One or the other of two. [from 14th c.]
  3. (coordinating) Used before two or more not necessarily exclusive possibilities separated by "or" or sometimes by a comma.
    You'll either be early, late, or on time.
    • 1893, Walter Besant, “Prologue”, in The Ivory Gate:
      Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language [] his clerks [] understood him very well. If he had written a love letter, or a farce, or a ballade, or a story, no one, either clerks, or friends, or compositors, would have understood anything but a word here and a word there.

Synonyms

  • (one or the other):
  • (each of two): both, each

Translations

Pronoun

either

  1. (obsolete) Both, each of two or more.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur, Bk.VII:
      Than ayther departed to theire tentis and made hem redy to horsebacke as they thought beste.
    • Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
      Scarce a palm of ground could be gotten by either of the three.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.i:
      And either vowd with all their power and wit, / To let not others honour be defaste [].
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894)
      There have been three talkers in Great British, either of whom would illustrate what I say about dogmatists.
  2. One or other of two people or things.
    • 2013, Daniel Taylor, Danny Welbeck leads England's rout of Moldova but hit by Ukraine ban, The Guardian, 6 September:
      Hodgson may now have to bring in James Milner on the left and, on that basis, a certain amount of gloss was taken off a night on which Welbeck scored twice but barely celebrated either before leaving the pitch angrily complaining to the Slovakian referee.

Adverb

either (not comparable)

  1. (conjunctive, after a negative) As well.
    I don't like him and I don't like her either.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      But Richmond [] appeared to lose himself in his own reflections. Some pickled crab, which he had not touched, had been removed with a damson pie; and his sister saw [] that he had eaten no more than a spoonful of that either.

Usage notes

either is sometimes used, especially in North American English, where neither would be more traditionally accurate: "I'm not hungry." "Me either."

Synonyms

Translations

Conjunction

either

  1. Introduces the first of two options, the second of which is introduced by "or".
    Either you eat your dinner or you go to your room.

Translations

Usage notes

  • When there are more than two alternatives, "any" is used instead.

See also

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: girl · during · several · #333: either · whether · city · held

Anagrams