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 ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus