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

  • noun The condition of being comfortable or relieved.
  • noun Freedom from pain, worry, or agitation.
  • noun Freedom from constraint or embarrassment; naturalness.
  • noun Freedom from difficulty, hardship, or effort.
  • noun Readiness or dexterity in performance; facility.
  • noun Freedom from financial difficulty; affluence.
  • noun A state of rest, relaxation, or leisure.
  • intransitive verb To free from pain, worry, or agitation.
  • intransitive verb To lessen the discomfort or pain of.
  • intransitive verb To alleviate; assuage.
  • intransitive verb To give respite from.
  • intransitive verb To slacken the strain, pressure, or tension of; loosen.
  • intransitive verb To reduce the difficulty or trouble of.
  • intransitive verb To move or maneuver slowly and carefully.
  • intransitive verb To lessen, as in discomfort, pressure, or stress.
  • intransitive verb To move or proceed with little effort.
  • idiom (at ease) In a relaxed position, especially standing silently at rest with the right foot stationary.
  • idiom (at ease) Used as a command for troops to assume a relaxed position.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An undisturbed state of the body; freedom from labor, pain, or physical annoyance of any kind; tranquil rest; physical comfort: as, he sits at his ease; to take one's ease.
  • noun A quiet state of the mind; freedom from concern, anxiety, solicitude, or anything that frets or ruffles the mind; tranquillity.
  • noun Hence Comfort afforded or provided; satisfaction; relief; entertainment; accommodation.
  • noun Facility; freedom from difficulty or great labor: as, it can be done with great ease.
  • noun Freedom from stiffness, coṅstraint, or formality; unaffectedness: as, ease of style; ease of manner.
  • To relieve or free from pain or bodily disquiet or annoyance; give rest or relief to; make comfortable.
  • To free from anxiety, care, or mental disturbance: as, the late news has eased my mind.
  • To release from pressure or tension; lessen or moderate the tension, tightness, weight, closeness, speed, etc., of, as by slacking, lifting slightly, shifting a little, etc.: sometimes with off: as, to ease a ship in a seaway by putting down the helm, or by throwing some cargo overboard; to ease a bar or a nut in machinery.
  • To relieve, as by the removal of a burden or an encumbrance; remove from, as a burden: with of before the thing removed: as, to ease a porter of his load.
  • To mitigate; alleviate; assuage; allay; abate or remove in part, as any burden, pain, grief, anxiety, or disturbance.
  • To render less difficult; facilitate.
  • Synonyms To quiet, calm, tranquilize, still, pacify.
  • To disburden, disencumber.

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

  • verb To free from anything that pains, disquiets, or oppresses; to relieve from toil or care; to give rest, repose, or tranquillity to; -- often with of
  • verb To render less painful or oppressive; to mitigate; to alleviate.
  • verb To release from pressure or restraint; to move gently; to lift slightly; to shift a little.
  • verb obsolete To entertain; to furnish with accommodations.
  • verb (Naut.) to slacken a rope gradually.
  • verb (Naut.) to put the helm hard, or regulate the sail, to prevent pitching when closehauled.
  • verb (Naut.) to put the helm more nearly amidships, to lessen the effect on the ship, or the strain on the wheel rope.
  • noun obsolete Satisfaction; pleasure; hence, accommodation; entertainment.
  • noun Freedom from anything that pains or troubles; as: (a) Relief from labor or effort; rest; quiet; relaxation.
  • noun Freedom from care, solicitude, or anything that annoys or disquiets; tranquillity; peace; comfort; security; as, ease of mind.
  • noun Freedom from constraint, formality, difficulty, embarrassment, etc.; facility; liberty; naturalness; -- said of manner, style, etc..
  • noun free from pain, trouble, or anxiety.
  • noun See under Chapel.
  • noun not at ease, disquieted; suffering; anxious.
  • noun (Mil.) to stand in a comfortable attitude in one's place in the ranks.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ese, from Old French aise, elbowroom, physical comfort, from Vulgar Latin *adiacēs, adiac-*adiac-, alteration of Latin adiacēns, adiacent-, present participle of adiacēre, to lie near; see adjacent.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English ese, eise ("ease"), from Anglo-Norman ese ("ease"), Old French aise, eise ("convenience, leisure, comfort"), of unknown origin. Earliest meaning was that of "empty space, elbow-room, opportunity". Conflicting forms in Romance point to an external, non-Latin origin . Probably from a Germanic or Celtic source. Compare Old English ēaþe ("easy"), Gothic 𐌰𐌶𐌴𐍄𐌹 (azēti, "ease, pleasure"), Gothic 𐌰𐌶𐌴𐍄𐍃 (azēts, "easy"), Breton eaz, ez ("easy"), Irish adhais ("easy, leisure"). See also eath.


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  • They came at a delicate plane, called Ease, where they went with much content; but that plain was but narrow, so they went quickly over it.

    John Bunyan (1628-1688), Pilgrim's Progress

    September 20, 2009