[ee-zuh l]


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; < Dutch ezel ass, easel (cognate with German Esel, Old English esel ass) < Vulgar Latin *asilus, for Latin asellus, diminutive of asinus ass1
Related formsea·seled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for easel

tripod, mount, frame

Examples from the Web for easel

Contemporary Examples of easel

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.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

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