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(em-PIR-ee-uhl, -pye-REE-) Pronunciation RealAudio

1. Relating to the highest heaven, believed to contain pure light or fire.
2. Relating to the sky; celestial.
3. Sublime; elevated.

[From Latin empyreus, from Greek empyrios (fiery), from pur (fire). Other words derived from the same root are fire, pyre, pyrosis (heartburn), and pyromania (an irresistible impulse to set things on fire).]

This is where the idiom "to be in the seventh heaven" (a state of great bliss) comes from. In the Muslim and cabalist beliefs, heavens comprise a system of concentric spheres, the seventh heaven being the highest and a place of pure bliss.

"Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed, An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air."
John Milton; Paradise Lost: The Seventh Book.

"Holland enriches trumpeter Kenny Wheeler's wafting, empyreal work 'Angel Song' (ECM), which also features omnipresent guitarist Bill Frisell."
Jim Fusilli; Rock 'n' Roll's Year in Review; The Wall Street Journal (New York); Dec 31, 1997.

This week's theme: Assorted words


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