Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Open to or allowing in air; breezy or drafty.
  • adjective Extensive in area or height; spacious.
  • adjective High in the air; lofty.
  • adjective Performed in the air; aerial.
  • adjective Resembling or evocative of air, especially.
  • adjective Having little or no substance; thin or immaterial.
  • adjective Light or delicate.
  • adjective Speculative, impractical, or vacuous.
  • adjective Haughty or affected.
  • adjective Chiefly Irish Light-hearted; merry.
  • adjective Archaic Of, relating to, or having the constitution of air.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Consisting of or having the character of air; immaterial; ethereal.
  • Relating or belonging to the air; being in the air; aërial.
  • Open to a free current of air; breezy: as, an airy situation.
  • Light as air; intangible; unsubstantial; empty; unreal; flimsy: as, airy ghosts.
  • Visionary; speculative: as, airy notions; an airy metaphysician.
  • Graceful; delicate.
  • Light in manner or movement; sprightly; gay; lively.
  • Jaunty; full of airs; affectedly lofty; pretentious.
  • In painting, showing that proper recession of all parts which expresses distance and atmosphere.
  • noun A provincial form of area.
  • noun An old and better spelling of aery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Consisting of air
  • adjective Relating or belonging to air; high in air; aërial.
  • adjective Open to a free current of air; exposed to the air; breezy.
  • adjective Resembling air; thin; unsubstantial; not material; airlike.
  • adjective Relating to the spirit or soul; delicate; graceful.
  • adjective Without reality; having no solid foundation; empty; trifling; visionary.
  • adjective Light of heart; vivacious; sprightly; flippant; superficial.
  • adjective colloq. Having an affected manner; being in the habit of putting on airs; affectedly grand.
  • adjective (Paint.) Having the light and aërial tints true to nature.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Consisting of air; as, an airy substance; the airy parts of bodies.
  • adjective Relating or belonging to air; high in air; aerial; as, an airy flight.
  • adjective Open to a free current of air; exposed to the air; breezy; as, an airy situation.
  • adjective Resembling air; thin; unsubstantial; not material; airlike.
  • adjective Relating to the spirit or soul; delicate; graceful; as, airy music.
  • adjective Without reality; having no solid foundation; empty; trifling; visionary.
  • adjective Light of heart; vivacious; sprightly; flippant; superficial.
  • adjective Having an affected manner; being in the habit of putting on airs; affectedly grand.
  • adjective painting Having the light and aerial tints true to nature.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective open to or abounding in fresh air
  • adjective having little or no perceptible weight; so light as to resemble air
  • adjective characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; as impalpable or intangible as air
  • adjective not practical or realizable; speculative

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • Philip used sometimes to declare that she had no sentiment; and then he doubted if he should be pleased with her after all if she were at all sentimental; and he rejoiced that she had, in such matters what he called the airy grace of sanity.

    The Gilded Age, Part 5.

  • Philip used sometimes to declare that she had no sentiment; and then he doubted if he should be pleased with her after all if she were at all sentimental; and he rejoiced that she had, in such matters what he called the airy grace of sanity.

    The Gilded Age A tale of today

  • This is not to say that I believe in airy-fairy notions of spirit, but I'm willing to pretend, as an expedient fiction, that my id and your id and all the ids coded into artworks throughout our culture form an ... aesthetic-behavioural system of sorts.

    Genius in a Bottle

  • This is not to say that I believe in airy-fairy notions of spirit, but I'm willing to pretend, as an expedient fiction, that my id and your id and all the ids coded into artworks throughout our culture form an ... aesthetic-behavioural system of sorts.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • Southern Literary Messenger: "Do not these words float in airy waves?"

    Captivation and Liberty in Wordsworth's Poems on Music

  • Do not these words float in airy waves, until the sense is charmed and lulled into delicious reverie, as by the

    Captivation and Liberty in Wordsworth's Poems on Music

  • "The horror of war and the enormous personal sacrifice it draws on cannot be painted in airy pastels."

    February 2005

  • The wind of evening shook the dark leaves to a thin airy cackle.

    The Garden Party, and Other Stories

  • No cocoanuts nor bananas were to be seen, though dense, tropic vegetation overran everything, dripping in airy festoons from the sheer lips of the precipices and running riot in all the crannied ledges.

    The Whale Tooth

  • On sultry evenings the Club adjourned to the brook for aquatic exercises, and the members sat about in airy attire, frog-like and cool.

    Little Men: Life at Plumfield With Jo's Boys

Comments

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  • Ethereal but without the mumbo-jumbo. See Skipvia's list Free Association.

    October 6, 2008

  • I would agree with this, rolig, if the expression airy-fairy weren't so common amoungst Bay Area cynics.

    October 10, 2008