- freedom from labor, pain, or physical annoyance; tranquil rest; comfort: to enjoy one’s ease.
- freedom from concern, anxiety, or solicitude; a quiet state of mind: to be at ease about one’s health.
- freedom from difficulty or great effort; facility: It can be done with ease.
- freedom from financial need; plenty: a life of ease on a moderate income.
- freedom from stiffness, constraint, or formality; unaffectedness: ease of manner; the ease and elegance of her poetry.
verb (used with object), eased, eas·ing.
- to free from anxiety or care: to ease one’s mind.
- to mitigate, lighten, or lessen: to ease pain.
- to release from pressure, tension, or the like.
- to move or shift with great care: to ease a car into a narrow parking space.
- to render less difficult; facilitate: I’ll help if it will ease your job.
- to provide (an architectural member) with an easement.
- Shipbuilding. to trim (a timber of a wooden hull) so as to fair its surface into the desired form of the hull.
- to bring (the helm or rudder of a vessel) slowly amidships.
- to bring the head of (a vessel) into the wind.
- to slacken or lessen the hold upon (a rope).
- to lessen the hold of (the brake of a windlass).
verb (used without object), eased, eas·ing.
- to abate in severity, pressure, tension, etc. (often followed by off or up).
- to become less painful, burdensome, etc.
- to move, shift, or be moved or be shifted with great care.
- ease out, to remove from a position of authority, a job, or the like, especially by methods intended to be tactful: He was eased out as division head to make way for the boss’s nephew.
- at ease, Military. a position of rest in which soldiers may relax but may not leave their places or talk.
- freedom from discomfort, worry, or anxiety
- lack of difficulty, labour, or awkwardness; facility
- rest, leisure, or relaxation
- freedom from poverty or financial embarrassment; affluencea life of ease
- lack of restraint, embarrassment, or stiffnesshis ease of manner disarmed us
- at ease military
- (of a standing soldier, etc) in a relaxed position with the feet apart and hands linked behind the back
- a command to adopt such a position
- in a relaxed attitude or frame of mind
- to make or become less burdensome
- (tr) to relieve (a person) of worry or care; comfort
- (tr) to make comfortable or give rest to
- (tr) to make less difficult; facilitate
- to move or cause to move into, out of, etc, with careful manipulationto ease a car into a narrow space
- (when intr, often foll by off or up) to lessen or cause to lessen in severity, pressure, tension, or strain; slacken, loosen, or abate
- ease oneself or ease nature archaic, euphemistic to urinate or defecate
- ease the helm nautical to relieve the pressure on the rudder of a vessel, esp by bringing the bow into the wind
early 13c., from Old French aise “comfort, pleasure, well-being; opportunity,” of unknown origin, despite attempts to link it to various Latin verbs.
The earliest senses in French appear to be 1. “elbow-room” (from an 11th century Hebrew-French glossary) and 2. “opportunity.” This led Sophus Bugge to suggest an origin in Vulgar Latin asa, a shortened form of Latin ansa “handle,” which could be used in the figurative sense of “opportunity, occasion,” as well as being a possible synonym for “elbow,” because Latin ansatus “furnished with handles” also was used to mean “having the arms akimbo.” OED editors report this theory, and write, “This is not very satisfactory, but it does not appear that any equally plausible alternative has yet been proposed.”
c.1300, “to help, assist,” see ease (n.). Meaning “to give ease” is from mid-14c.; the sense of “to relax one’s efforts” is from 1863. Farmer reports ease in a slang sense of “to content a woman” sexually, with an 1861 date. Related: Eased; easing.
In addition to the idioms beginning with ease
- ease off
- ease out
- at ease
- ill at ease
Also see undereasilyeasy.