Idioms

    at ease, Military. a position of rest in which soldiers may relax but may not leave their places or talk.

Origin of ease

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English ese, eise < Anglo-French ese, Old French aise, eise comfort, convenience < Vulgar Latin *adjace(m), accusative of *adjacēs vicinity (compare Medieval Latin in aiace in (the) vicinity), the regular outcome of Latin adjacēns adjacent, taken in VL as a noun of the type nūbēs, accusative nūbem cloud; (v.) Middle English esen < Anglo-French e(i)ser, Old French aisier, derivative of the noun
Related formsself-ease, nounself-eas·ing, adjectivewell-eased, adjective

Synonyms for ease

Synonym study

1. Ease, comfort refer to a sense of relaxation or of well-being. Ease implies a relaxed condition with an absence of effort or pressure: a life of ease. Comfort suggests a sense of well-being, along with ease, which produces a quiet happiness and contentment: comfort in one's old age.

Antonyms for ease

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for at ease

ease

noun

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
  1. (of a standing soldier, etc) in a relaxed position with the feet apart and hands linked behind the back
  2. a command to adopt such a position
  3. in a relaxed attitude or frame of mind

verb

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
Derived Formseaser, noun

Word Origin for ease

C13: from Old French aise ease, opportunity, from Latin adjacēns neighbouring (area); see adjacent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for at ease

ease

v.

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.

ease

n.

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with at ease

at ease

1

Also, at one's ease. Comfortable, relaxed, unembarrassed, as in I always feel at ease in my grandmother's house. The related idiom put at ease means “make comfortable, reassure,” as in I was worried that the letter would not arrive in time, but the postmaster put me at ease. [1300s] For the antonym, see ill at ease.

2

In a relaxed position in military ranks. The phrase is often used as a command for troops standing at attention to relax, as in At ease, squadron. The command stand at ease is slightly different. A British military dictionary of 1802 described it as standing with the right foot drawn back about six inches and one's weight put on it. An American version is to stand with one's feet slightly apart and the hands clasped behind one's back.

ease

In addition to the idioms beginning with ease

  • ease off
  • ease out

also see:

  • at ease
  • ill at ease

Also see undereasilyeasy.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.