easel

noun

ea·​sel ˈē-zəl How to pronounce easel (audio)
: a frame for supporting something (such as an artist's canvas)

Illustration of easel

Illustration of easel

Examples of easel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the Noël Coward suite, charming landscape oils by the playwright, actor and composer hang on walls and are propped on an easel. Jane Margolies, New York Times, 8 May 2024 Still, Buckingham Palace kept with tradition by posting the official birth announcement on an easel near the palace gates for the public to view. Audrey Schmidt, Peoplemag, 2 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for easel 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'easel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Dutch ezel, literally, "donkey," going back to Middle Dutch esel, going back to Germanic *asil- (whence Old Saxon & Old High German esil "donkey," Old English esol, eosol, Gothic asilus), altered from Latin asinus — more at ass entry 1

First Known Use

1596, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of easel was in 1596

Dictionary Entries Near easel

Cite this Entry

“Easel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/easel. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

easel

noun
ea·​sel ˈē-zəl How to pronounce easel (audio)
: a frame for supporting something (as an artist's canvas)
Etymology

from Dutch ezel "a frame to hold an artist's canvas," literally, "donkey"

Word Origin
An easel is a frame for holding up such things as an artist's painting or a chalkboard. In the 17th century the Dutch had become famous throughout Europe for their oil painting. Thus it was their word ezel, which they used to refer to this piece of equipment, that was borrowed into English around that time. This sense of ezel was an extension of the original meaning "donkey," probably because an easel, like a beast of burden, is used to hold things.

More from Merriam-Webster on easel

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