Highly sensitive and selective detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with fast response time is imperative based on safety requirements, yet often remains a challenge. Herein, we propose an effective solution, preparing a novel gas sensor comprised of amorphous nanoflake arrays (a-NFAs) with specific surface groups. The sensor was produced via an extremely simple process in which a-NFAs of CdO were deposited directly onto an interdigital electrode immersed in a chemical bath under ambient conditions. Upon exposure to a widely used VOC, diethyl ether (DEE), the sensor exhibits excellent performance, more specifically, the quickest response, lowest detection limit and highest selectivity ever reported for DEE as a target gas. The superior gas-sensing properties of the prepared a-NFAs are found to arise from their open trumpet-shaped morphology, defect-rich amorphous nature, and surface CO groups.