Etherington’s first-half double put the Potters in firm control at the Britannia Stadium.
But Spurs pulled a goal back via Emmanuel Adebayor’s penalty only to see their hopes of a comeback undermined by Younes Kaboul’s late red card.
It was Spurs’ first Premier League defeat in 12 matches and London rivals Chelsea now have the opportunity to climb above them into third with victory over leaders Manchester City on Monday.
Victory for the Potters made it three consecutive wins in the English top flight as well as continuing their fine record against the big clubs in the Premier League this season, with Stoke having also beaten Liverpool and drawn with Manchester United and Chelsea.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis named an unchanged side which included the former Tottenham trio of Peter Crouch, Etherington and Jonathan Woodgate, while Spurs boss Harry Redknapp recalled Rafael van der Vaart in place of Jermain Defoe.
Other results in the English Premier League are:
Sunderland 2 – 1 Blackburn
Arsenal 1 – 0 Everton
Bolton 1 – 2 Aston Villa
Liverpool 1 – 0 QPR
Man Utd 4 – 1 Wolverhampton
Norwich 4 – 2 Newcastle
Swansea 2 – 0 Fulham
West Brom 1 – 2 Wigan
Manchester City will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday for the last showdown of the week 15 matches