a stand or frame for supporting or displaying at an angle an artist's canvas, a blackboard, a china plate, etc.
Also called masking frame. Photography. a frame, often with adjustable masks, used to hold photographic paper flat and control borders when printing enlargements.
Origin of easel
1625–35;Related formsea·seled, adjective
< Dutch ezel
ass, easel (cognate with German Esel, Old English esel
ass) < Vulgar Latin *asilus,
for Latin asellus,
diminutive of asinus ass1
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for easel
Contemporary Examples of easel
The last drawing, he reveals, will be of Arthur sitting at an easel painting Denison.
On the easel sits a depiction of sun shining through trees, illuminating the grass below.
A photograph showed Bush hunched over an easel in what appears to be a home gym.
I went back to my easel and motioned the model to resume her pose.
While moving a framed canvas from one easel to another my foot slipped on the polished floor, and I fell heavily on both wrists.
Historical Examples of easel
She left the easel in disgust and refused to touch it again for a week.
Her easel was there, and her half-rubbed out drawing—No, that was not her drawing.
She asked to see it, and I wheeled out the easel and threw the drapery back.
I'm afraid my scruples vanished when I got him before my easel.
And it was there, 'on the easel,' that 'The Dead Child' at last made its appearance.
British Dictionary definitions for easel
a frame, usually in the form of an upright tripod, used for supporting or displaying an artist's canvas, blackboard, etc
Word Origin for easel
C17: from Dutch ezel ass 1; related to Gothic asilus, German Esel, Latin asinus ass
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 easel
1590s, from Dutch ezel "easel," originally "ass," from Middle Dutch esel, from Latin asinus "ass" (see ass (n.1)); the comparison being of loading a burden on a donkey and propping up a painting or canvas on a wooden stand (cf. sawhorse).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper