es·​pla·​nade ˈe-splə-ˌnäd How to pronounce esplanade (audio)
 also  ˌe-splə-ˈnād,
 or  ˈe-splə-ˌnād
: a level open stretch of paved or grassy ground
especially : one designed for walking or driving along a shore

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.

Examples of esplanade in a Sentence

a tree-lined esplanade by the river
Recent Examples on the Web The charming town features historic Spanish missions, beaches, restaurants, and an esplanade for seaside strolling. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 6 Dec. 2023 While tickets will be required for prime viewing spots, watching from the esplanade along the river will be free to all. Lindsey Tramuta, Travel + Leisure, 12 Nov. 2023 There, Karim organizes the unloading and stashing of the hoard and strides through the project’s broad central esplanade to its ramparts, where other activists are gathered—as the camera then flies out into open space and yields a panoramic view of the complex in revolt. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 9 Sep. 2022 The ceremony came to a patriotic close as the music unit of the Royal Guard played the national anthem and a 19-gun salute was fired on the esplanade of the Almudena Cathedral, where Felipe and Letizia married in 2004. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 31 Oct. 2023 After the whirlwind tour of Paris, runners will come into the final few miles and the finish line awaits them at the wide and open esplanade housing a collection of buildings referred to as Les Invalides. Melanie Mitchell, Outside Online, 10 Oct. 2022 Stantec The 21-building Dorchester Bay City, seen in this rendering, will include 15.4 acres of open space, including waterfront green space with a playground and esplanade., 14 Sep. 2023 Construction started on Trinity Mills Station in 2021, with the building of a 3-acre public esplanade through the project. Steve Brown, Dallas News, 19 July 2023 Francis was spending the morning in Fatima, praying with sick people and prisoners, alongside pilgrims who began filling the shrine’s central esplanade long before sunrise. Nicole Winfield,, 5 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle French, from Italian spianata, from spianare to level, from Latin explanare — more at explain

First Known Use

1591, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of esplanade was in 1591


Dictionary Entries Near esplanade

Cite this Entry

“Esplanade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


es·​pla·​nade ˈes-plə-ˌnäd How to pronounce esplanade (audio)
: a level open stretch or area
especially : one for walking or driving along a shore

More from Merriam-Webster on esplanade

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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