• esplanade
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ESS-pluh-nahd\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: a level open stretch of paved or grassy ground; especially : one designed for walking or driving along a shore
  • EXAMPLES

The whole length of the esplanade was full of people who had secured prime viewing spots for the Fourth of July fireworks show.

"On Monday, hundreds of thousands of people poured onto the esplanade in front of the city's Invalides dome, clashing with riot police, who were posted around Paris neighborhoods in bulletproof vests and helmets, as they have been numerous times during the past several months." — From an article by Vivienne Walt in Time, May 29, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

The history of "esplanade" is completely on the level. The Italians created "spianata," for a level stretch of ground, from their verb "spianare," which means "to make level." "Spianare" in turn comes from the Latin verb "explanare," which also means "to make level" and which is the source of our verb "explain." Middle-French speakers borrowed "spianata" as "esplanade," and in the late 1500s we borrowed the French word. In the late 17th century, and even later, esplanades were associated with war. The word was used to refer to a clear space between a citadel and the nearest house of a town or to a slope around a fortification used for defense against attack. Today, however, esplanades are usually for enjoyment.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "orotund," our Word of the Day from June 6? The answer is …

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