1. The condition of being comfortable or relieved.
a. Freedom from pain, worry, or agitation: Her mind was at ease knowing that the children were safe.
b. Freedom from constraint or embarrassment; naturalness.
a. Freedom from difficulty, hardship, or effort: rose through the ranks with apparent ease.
b. Readiness or dexterity in performance; facility: a pianist who played the sonata with ease.
4. Freedom from financial difficulty; affluence: a life of luxury and ease.
5. A state of rest, relaxation, or leisure: He took his ease by the pond.
v. eased, eas·ing, eas·es
1. To free from pain, worry, or agitation: eased his conscience by returning the stolen money.
a. To lessen the discomfort or pain of: shifted position to ease her back.
b. To alleviate; assuage: prescribed a drug to ease the pain.
3. To give respite from: eased the staff's burden by hiring more people.
4. To slacken the strain, pressure, or tension of; loosen: ease off a cable.
5. To reduce the difficulty or trouble of: eased the entrance requirements.
6. To move or maneuver slowly and carefully: eased the car into a narrow space; eased the director out of office.
1. To lessen, as in discomfort, pressure, or stress: pain that never eased.
2. To move or proceed with little effort: eased through life doing as little as possible.
1. In a relaxed position, especially standing silently at rest with the right foot stationary: put the soldiers at ease while waiting for inspection.
2. Used as a command for troops to assume a relaxed position.
[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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.