From Middle English either, from Old English ǣġhwæþer, from Proto-Germanic, ultimately corresponding to ay (“always, ever”) + whether. Akin to Old Saxon eogihwethar, iahwethar (Low German jeed); Old Dutch *iogewether, *iowether, *iother (Dutch ieder); Old High German eogihwedar, iegihweder, ieweder (German jeder).
- enPR: īth′ə(r), ēth′ə(r), IPA(key): /ˈaɪð.ə(ɹ)/, /ˈiːð.ə(ɹ)/
- Rhymes: -aɪðə(ɹ), -iːðə(ɹ)
- In the UK, /aɪ/ is used more in Southern England, and /iː/ is more usual in Northern England. In North America, /iː/ is the most common, but /aɪ/ is predominant in some regions. Note that even if one pronunciation is more common in a region, the pronunciation used varies by individual speaker and sometimes by situation.
- One of two.
- You can have it in either colour.
- Each of two; both. [from 9th c.]
- There is a locomotive at either end of the train, one pulling and the other pushing.
- When there are more than two alternatives, in the sense of “one of many”, any is used instead.
- One or other of two people or things.
- He made me two offers, but I did not accept either.
- 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.
- (obsolete) Both, each of two or more.
- 1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [Le Morte Darthur], (please specify the book number), [London]: […] [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur […], London: Published by David Nutt, […], 1889, OCLC 890162034:, Bk.VII:
- Than ayther departed to theire tentis and made hem redy to horsebacke as they thought beste.
- (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon
- Scarce a palm of ground could be gotten by either of the three.
- (Can we date this quote?) Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
- There have been three talkers in Great British, either of whom would illustrate what I say about dogmatists.
either (not comparable)
- (conjunctive, after a negative) As well.
- I don't like him, and I don't like her either.
After a positive statement, too is commonly used: “I like him, and I like her too.”
- Introduces the first of two (or occasionally more) options or possibilities, the second (or last) of which is introduced by “or”.
- Either you eat your dinner or you go to your room.
- You can have either potatoes or rice with that, but not both.
- You'll be either early, late, or on time.
- 2006 December 5,, “Mason drops lawsuit vs. Jews for Jesus”, in USA Today:
- You can't be a table and a chair. You're either a Jew or a gentile.
- 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.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.