empyrean vs welkin what difference

what is difference between empyrean and welkin



From Latin empȳreus, from Ancient Greek ἐμπύριος (empúrios), from ἐν (en, in) + πῦρ (pûr, fire) (whence English pyre).


  • IPA(key): /ɛmˌpaɪˈɹiːn̩/, /ɛmˈpɪɹi.ən/


empyrean (plural empyreans)

  1. (historical) The region of pure light and fire; the highest heaven, where the pure element of fire was supposed by the ancients to exist: the same as the ether, the ninth heaven according to ancient astronomy.

Related terms

  • pyre


empyrean (not comparable)

  1. Of the sky or the heavens; celestially refined.
    • 1700, Matthew Prior, Carmen Saeculare
      Yet upward she [the goddess] incessant flies;
      Resolv’d to reach the high empyrean Sphere.


  • empyreal



  • empyrean in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • William Dwight Whitney and Benjamin E[li] Smith, editors (1914), “empyrean”, in The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language, volume II (D–Hoon), revised edition, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., OCLC 1078064371.

Further reading

  • empyrean on Wikipedia.Wikipedia



From Middle English welken, welkne, wolkne (clouds, heavens), from Old English wolcnu (clouds), plural of wolcen (cloud), from Proto-Germanic *wulkaną, *wulkō, *wulkô (cloud). Compare modern Dutch wolken (clouds) and German Wolken (clouds).


  • IPA(key): /ˈwɛl.kən/


welkin (plural welkins)

  1. (archaic, poetic, literary) The sky, the region of clouds; the upper air; aether; the heavens.
    Synonyms: (dialectal) lift, firmament
    • c. 1388, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales:
      This day in mirth and revel to dispend / Till on the welkin shone the starres bright
    • c. 1610-11, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act I scene ii[1]:
      Miranda: [] The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch, / But that the sea, mounting to th’ welkin’s cheek, / Dashes the fire out.
    • c. 1620, anonymous, “Tom o’ Bedlam’s Song” in Giles Earle his Booke (British Museum, Additional MSS. 24, 665):
      I knowe more then Apollo,
      for oft when hee ly’s sleeping
      I see yͤ starrs att bloudie warres
      in yͤ wounded welkin weeping
    • 1802, Joanna Baillie, Ethwald Part 2, Act V., (T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies)
      I’ve seen the moving stars
      Shoot rapidly athwart the sombre sky,
      Red fiery meteors in the welkin blaze,
      And sheeted lightnings gleam, but ne’er before
      Saw I a sight like this.
    • 1924, Herman Melville, Billy Budd, London: Constable & Co., Chapter 11[2]:
      To him, the spirit lodged within Billy, and looking out from his welkin eyes as from windows, that ineffability it was which made the dimple in his dyed cheek, suppled his joints, and dancing in his yellow curls made him preeminently the Handsome Sailor.

Derived terms

  • make the welkin ring / ring the welkins


Further reading

  • Michael Quinion (1996–2021), “Welkin”, in World Wide Words.


  • Wilken, Winkle, winkle

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