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one or the other: It’s either too hot or too cold.
Not to be confused with:
ether – an anesthetic; the upper regions of space; the heavens
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


 (ē′thər, ī′thər)
The one or the other: Which movie do you want to see? Either will be fine.
Used before the first of two or more coordinates or clauses linked by or: Either we go now or we remain here forever.
1. Any one of two; one or the other: Wear either coat.
2. One and the other; each: rings on either hand.
Likewise; also. Used as an intensive following negative statements: If you don't order a dessert, I won't either.

[Middle English, from Old English ǣther, ǣghwæther; see kwo- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The traditional rule holds that either should be used only to refer to one of two items, and that any is required when more than two items are involved: Any (not either) of the three opposition candidates still in the race would make a better president than the incumbent. But reputable writers have often violated this rule, and in any case it applies only to the use of either as a pronoun or an adjective. When either is used as a conjunction, no paraphrase with any is available, and so either is unexceptionable even when it applies to more than two clauses: Either the union will make a counteroffer or the original bid will be refused by the board or the deal will go ahead as scheduled. · In either ... or constructions, the two conjunctions should be followed by parallel elements. The following is regarded as incorrect: You may either have the ring or the bracelet (properly, You may have either the ring or the bracelet). The following is also incorrect: She can take either the exam offered to all applicants or ask for a personal interview (properly, She can either take ... ). · When used as a pronoun, either is singular and takes a singular verb: The two left-wing parties disagree with each other more than either does (not do) with the Right. When followed by of and a plural noun, either is often used with a plural verb: Either of the parties have enough support to form a government. But this usage is widely regarded as incorrect. In our 2009 survey, 87 percent of the Usage Panel rejected it, a percentage that has barely budged since the question was first posed in 1967. · When all the elements in an either ... or construction (or a neither ... nor construction) used as the subject of a sentence are singular, the verb is singular: Either Eve or Herb has been invited. Analogously, when all the elements in the either ... or construction are plural, the verb is plural too: Either the Clarks or the Kays have been invited. When the construction mixes singular and plural elements, however, there is some confusion as to which form the verb should take. It has sometimes been suggested that the verb should agree with whichever noun phrase is closest to it; thus one would write Either the owner or the players are going to have to give in, but Either the players or the owner is going to have to give in. In our 2009 survey, 64 percent of the Usage Panel accepted this pattern. Others have maintained that the construction is fundamentally inconsistent whichever number is assigned to the verb, and that such sentences should be rewritten accordingly. See Usage Notes at every, neither, or1, they.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈaɪðə; ˈiːðə)
a. one or the other (of two): either coat will do.
b. (as pronoun): either is acceptable.
2. both one and the other: there were ladies at either end of the table.
3. (coordinating) used preceding two or more possibilities joined by "or": you may have either cheese or a sweet.
adv (sentence modifier)
(used with a negative) used to indicate that the clause immediately preceding is a partial reiteration of a previous clause: John isn't a liar, but he isn't exactly honest either.
[Old English ǣgther, short for ǣghwæther each of two; related to Old Frisian ēider, Old High German ēogihweder; see each, whether]
Usage: Either is followed by a singular verb in good usage: either is good; either of these books is useful. Care should be taken to avoid ambiguity when using either to mean both or each, as in the following sentence: a ship could be moored on either side of the channel. Agreement between the verb and its subject in either…or… constructions follows the pattern given for neither…nor…
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈi ðər, ˈaɪ ðər)

1. one or the other of two: You may sit at either end of the table.
2. each of two; the one and the other: There are trees on either side of the river.
3. one or the other: Either will do.
4. (a coordinating conjunction that, when used with or, indicates a choice): Either call or write.
5. as well; likewise (used after negative clauses): If you don't go, I won't either.
[before 900; Middle English; Old English ǣgther, contraction of ǣghwæther each of two, both; see ay, whether]
usage: When used as the subject, the pronoun either usually takes a singular verb even when followed by a prepositional phrase with a plural object: Either of the shrubs grows well in this soil. As an adjective either refers only to two of anything. As a pronoun either sometimes occurs in reference to more than two (either of the three children), but any is more common (any of the three children). As a conjunction, either often introduces a series of more than two: pizza topped with either onions, peppers, or mushrooms.―Usage guides say that the verb used with subjects joined by the correlative conjunctions eitheror (or neithernor) is singular or plural depending on the number of the noun or pronoun nearer the verb: Either the parents or the school determines the program. Either the school or the parents determine the program. Practice varies, however, and often the presence of one plural, no matter where, results in a plural verb. See also neither.
pron: In American English, either and neither are usu. pronounced as (ˈi ðər) and (ˈni ðər) with the vowel of see. The pronunciations (ˈaɪ ðər) and (ˈnaɪ ðər) with the vowel of bite, occur chiefly among the educated and in the network standard English of radio and television. Both (ē) and (ī) pronunciations existed in 17th-century Britain, but it was not until the 19th century that (aɪ) came to predominate there. In American English, (aɪ) therefore reflects a recent borrowing rather than a survival from the time of early settlement.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used as a determiner

You use either in front of the singular form of a countable noun to say that something is true about each of two people or things.

Many children don't resemble either parent.
In either case, Robert would never succeed.
2. 'either of'

Instead of using either, you can use either of with a plural noun. For example, instead of saying 'Either answer is correct', you can say 'Either of the answers is correct'. There is no difference in meaning.

You could hear everything that was said in either of the rooms.
They didn't want either of their children to know about this.

You use either of in front of plural pronouns.

I don't know either of them very well.
He was better dressed than either of us.

Be Careful!
Don't use either without of in front of a plural noun or pronoun. Don't say, for example 'He was better dressed than either us.'

Some people use a plural form of a verb after either of and a noun phrase. For example, instead of saying 'I don't think either of you is wrong', they say 'I don't think either of you are wrong'.

I'm surprised either of you are here.

This use is acceptable in conversation and in less formal writing, but in formal writing you should always use a singular form of a verb after either of.

Either of these interpretations is possible.
3. used in negative statements

You can use either or either of in a negative statement to emphasize that the statement applies to both of two things or people. For example, instead of saying about two people 'I don't like them', you can say 'I don't like either of them'.

She could not see either man.
There was no sound from either of the rooms.
'Which one do you want – the red one or the blue one?' – 'I don't want either.'
4. used to mean 'each'

If there are things on either side of something or either end of something, they are on both sides or both ends.

There were trees on either side of the road.
There are toilets at either end of the train.
5. used as an adverb

When one negative statement follows another, you can put either at the end of the second one.

I can't play tennis and I can't play golf either.
'I haven't got that address.' – 'No, I haven't got it either.'
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.either - after a negative statement used as an intensive meaning something like `likewise' or `also'; "he isn't stupid, but he isn't exactly a genius either"; "I don't know either"; "if you don't order dessert I won't either"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
إمَاإمّاأيٌ مِنهُماأيضاأيْضا، بالإضافَةِ إلى ذلك
anibuďjeden ze dvoukterýkolivoba
beggehellerhverden ene eller den andenenten
jompikumpi-kaan/-käänkumpi tahansakumpikaankumpikin
bilo kojinisvaki
annar hvor, hvor sem erbáîir, hvor sem erheldurmeî hvorum sem er; báîiròar aî auki; ennfremur
...도 또한 ...아니다...이든 (아니면)...각각어느 쪽 하나
arba... arbavienas iš dviejų
abiarīkā viens, tā otrskatrspie tam
dokoncajeden alebo druhýobidva
alieden in drugioba
hoặcmỗimột trong hai


1. (= one or other) (positive) → cualquiera de los dos; (negative) → ninguno de los dos
either day would suit mecualquiera de los dos días me viene bien
I don't like either bookno me gusta ninguno de los dos libros
you can do it either waypuedes hacerlo de este modo o del otro
2. (= each) → cada
in either handen cada mano
on either side of the roada ambos lados de la carretera
B. PRON (positive) → cualquiera de los dos; (negative) → ninguno de los dos
"which bus will you take?" - "either"-¿qué autobús vas a coger? -cualquiera de los dos
give it to either of themdáselo a cualquiera de los dos
either of uscualquiera de nosotros
I don't want either of themno quiero ninguno de los dos
I don't like either of themno me gusta ninguno de los dos
C. CONJ either ... oro ... o
either come in or stay outo entra o quédate fuera
I have never been to either Paris or Romeno he estado nunca ni en París ni en Roma
you can have either ice cream or yoghurtpuedes tomar o helado o yogur
D. ADVtampoco
he can't sing eithertampoco sabe cantar
no, I haven't eitherno, yo tampoco
I don't like milk and I don't like eggs eitherno me gusta la leche y tampoco me gustan los huevos
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈaɪðər ˈiːðər]
(= one or other) → l'un ou l'autre
(= both, each) → chaque
on either side → de chaque côté
at either end → à chaque extrémité
in either case → dans les deux cas
pronl'un ou l'autre
either of them → l'un ou l'autre, n'importe lequel
Take either of them → Prends l'un ou l'autre.
Do either of you smoke? → Est-ce que l'un de vous deux fume?
I don't like either of them.; I don't like either (= I like neither) → Je n'aime ni l'un ni l'autre., Je n'aime ni l'un ni l'autre.
There was no sound from either of the flats → Aucun bruit ne venait (de l'un ou l'autre) des appartements.
adv (following negative)non plus
I don't like milk, and I don't like eggs either → Je n'aime pas le lait, et je n'aime pas les œufs non plus.
no, I don't either → moi non plus
I haven't either → moi non plus
"I've never been to Spain." - "I haven't either." → "Je ne suis jamais allé en Espagne." - "Moi non plus."
I haven't got it either → moi non plus
either good or bad → ou bon ou mauvais, soit bon soit mauvais
either ... or ... → soit ... soit ...
You can have either ice cream or yoghurt → Tu peux prendre soit une glace soit un yaourt.
I haven't seen either one or the other → je n'ai vu ni l'un ni l'autre
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


adj pron
(= one or other)eine(r, s) (von beiden); there are two boxes on the table, take either (of them)auf dem Tisch liegen zwei Schachteln, nimm eine davon; if on either side of the road there is a line of treeswenn eine Straßenseite mit Bäumen bestanden ist
(= each, both)jede(r, s), beide pl; either day would suit mebeide Tage passen mir; which bus will you take? — either (will do)welchen Bus wollen Sie nehmen? — das ist egal; she offered me tea and coffee, but I don’t drink either (of them)sie bot mir Tee und Kaffee an, aber ich trinke keines von beiden or ich trinke beides nicht; on either side of the streetauf beiden Seiten der Straße; it wasn’t in either (box)es war in keiner der beiden (Kisten)
adv conj
(after neg statement) → auch nicht; he sings badly and he can’t act eitherer ist ein schlechter Sänger, und spielen kann er auch nicht; I have never heard of him — no, I haven’t eitherich habe noch nie von ihm gehört — ich auch nicht
either … orentweder … oder; (after a negative) → weder … noch; he must be either lazy or stupider muss entweder faul oder dumm sein; either be quiet or go out!entweder bist du ruhig oder du gehst raus!; I have never been to either Paris or Romeich bin weder in Paris noch in Rom gewesen
(= moreover) she inherited some money and not an insignificant amount eithersie hat Geld geerbt, und (zwar) gar nicht so wenig
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. adj
a. (one or other) → l'uno/a o l'altro/a
either day would suit me → mi va bene sia un giorno che l'altro
b. (each) → entrambi/e, ciascuno/a
on either side → su entrambi i lati
in either hand → in ciascuna mano
2. pron either (of them)(o) l'uno/a o l'altro/a
I don't want either of them → non voglio né l'uno né l'altro
give it to either of them → dallo a uno dei due
which bus will you take? - either → che autobus prendi? - uno qualsiasi dei due
I don't like either → non mi piace né l'uno né l'altro
3. conj either ...oro... o; (after neg) → né... né
either today or tomorrow → oggi o domani
either come in or stay out → o entri o stai fuori
I have never been to either Paris or Rome → non sono mai stato né a Parigi né a Roma
I haven't seen either one or the other → non ho visto né l'uno né l'altro
4. advneanche, nemmeno, neppure
he can't sing either → non sa neppure cantare
no, I don't/haven't either → no, neanch'io, no, nemmeno io
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


() ˈaiθə) , ((especially American) ˈi:ðə(r)) pronoun
the one or the other of two. You may borrow either of these books; I offered him coffee or tea, but he didn't want either.
1. the one or the other (of two things, people etc). He can write with either hand.
2. the one and the other (of two things, people etc); both. at either side of the garden.
1. used for emphasis. If you don't go, I won't either.
2. moreover; besides. I used to sing, and I hadn't a bad voice, either.
either … or
introducing alternatives. Either go to see him or send an apology.
either way
in the one case or the other. Either way he wins.

either … or the verb usually matches the noun or pronoun that comes closest to it: Either John or Mary is to blame / Either John or his brothers are going to the show .
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


إمَا, أَيُّ مِنْ, أَيُّ مِنْهُما, فَوْقَ ذَلِك ani, jeden ze dvou, kterýkoliv, oba begge, enten, heller ebenso, einer von beiden, eins von beiden, entweder είτε, εκάτερος, ένας από τους δύο, ούτε cada, cualquier, cualquiera, cualquiera de los dos, tampoco jompikumpi, -kaan/-kään, kumpi tahansa, kumpikaan l’un ou l’autre, l'un ou l'autre, non plus, soit bilo koji, ni, svaki entrambi, l'uno o l'altro, nemmeno, uno dei due ・・・かまたは・・・か, ・・・もまた, どちらか, どちらも ...도 또한 ...아니다, ...이든 (아니면)..., 각각, 어느 쪽 하나 beide, een van beide, evenmin begge, enten, heller, hvilken (som helst) albo, którykolwiek, również cada, cada um, tampouco, um, um de dois каждый, любой из, также antingen, eller, endera แต่ละ, ไม่เช่นกัน, อย่างใดอย่างหนึ่ง, อย่างใดอย่างหนึ่งในจำนวนสอง her ikisi de, ikisinden biri, ya, ya o, ya bu hoặc, mỗi, một trong hai 任一, 或者
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


a., pron. uno-a u otro-a;
adv. también; [after negation] tampoco;
conj. o.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
All states, all powers, that have held and hold rule over men have been and are either republics or principalities.
Principalities are either hereditary, in which the family has been long established; or they are new.
The reader will here find no regions cursed with irremediable barrenness, or blessed with spontaneous fecundity, no perpetual gloom or unceasing sunshine; nor are the nations here described either devoid of all sense of humanity, or consummate in all private and social virtues; here are no Hottentots without religion, polity, or articulate language, no Chinese perfectly polite, and completely skilled in all sciences: he will discover, what will always be discovered by a diligent and impartial inquirer, that wherever human nature is to be found there is a mixture of vice and virtue, a contest of passion and reason, and that the Creator doth not appear partial in his distributions, but has balanced in most countries their particular inconveniences by particular favours.
His discourses on indifferent subjects will divert as well as instruct, and if either in these, or in the relation of Father Lobo, any argument shall appear unconvincing, or description obscure, they are defects incident to all mankind, which, however, are not too rashly to be imputed to the authors, being sometimes, perhaps, more justly chargeable on the translator.
The knowledge of the master is to be able properly to employ his slaves, for the mastership of slaves is the employment, not the mere possession of them; not that this knowledge contains anything great or respectable; for what a slave ought to know how to do, that a master ought to know how to order; for which reason, those who have it in their power to be free from these low attentions, employ a steward for this business, and apply themselves either to public affairs or philosophy: the knowledge of procuring what is necessary for a family is different from that which belongs either to the master or the slave: and to do this justly must be either by war or hunting.
The JUST causes of war, for the most part, arise either from violation of treaties or from direct violence.
It is of high importance to the peace of America that she observe the laws of nations towards all these powers, and to me it appears evident that this will be more perfectly and punctually done by one national government than it could be either by thirteen separate States or by three or four distinct confederacies.
For as there are persons who, by conscious art or mere habit, imitate and represent various objects through the medium of colour and form, or again by the voice; so in the arts above mentioned, taken as a whole, the imitation is produced by rhythm, language, or 'harmony,' either singly or combined.
The United States, as now composed, have no powers to exact obedience, or punish disobedience to their resolutions, either by pecuniary mulcts, by a suspension or divestiture of privileges, or by any other constitutional mode.
Everything except primary substances is either predicable of a primary substance or present in a primary substance.
To deal in person is good, when a man's face breedeth regard, as commonly with inferiors; or in tender cases, where a man's eye, upon the countenance of him with whom he speaketh, may give him a direction how far to go; and generally, where a man will reserve to himself liberty, either to disavow or to expound.
There was no want of distinguished and noble candidates to fill up the ranks on either side.