es·​pla·​nade | \ ˈe-splə-ˌnäd How to pronounce esplanade (audio) , ˌe-splə-ˈnäd also ˌe-splə-ˈnād or ˈe-splə-ˌnād \

Definition of esplanade

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

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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 tensions have returned the Temple Mount, an elevated esplanade in East Jerusalem’s Old City that has for decades served as a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, to the foreground. Washington Post, "Amid brewing regional tensions, Israel begins vaccinating 700 Jordanian workers," 16 Mar. 2021 Nice mayor Christian Estrosi announced on Friday a ban on the beaches and the famous Promenade des Anglais esplanade, where lots of people usually go for a seaside stroll, to ensure the restrictions are fully respected. Sylvie Corbet, Star Tribune, "French Riviera cities under lockdown as new infections soar," 26 Feb. 2021 The hilltop esplanade in the Old City, home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the iconic Dome of the Rock shrine, is the third holiest site in Islam. Areej Hazboun And Joseph Krauss, USA TODAY, "Palestinians torn as Israel seeks Gulf tourists in Jerusalem after COVID-19 drained travel hub," 16 Nov. 2020 Chloe took over the esplanade of the Palais de Tokyo on Thursday for an immersive runway show that used huge plasma screens to broadcast the collection live as the models wove in between guests. Star Tribune, "Medtronic cooperating with federal investigation into ventilator competition," 1 Oct. 2020 Still, Georg Ratzinger traveled to the Vatican for his brother’s installation and was given a prominent seat on the basilica esplanade. Ari L. Goldman,, "Rev. Georg Ratzinger, choirmaster and a pope’s brother," 1 July 2020 Oscar Niemeyer’s Casas das Canoas Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Theaters, esplanades, a world-famous cathedral, Manhattan’s UN Secretariat Building—these are just a few works of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. National Geographic, "CREATE A FREE NAT GEO ACCOUNT TO CONTINUE READING," 8 May 2020 The city’s Parks Department is also reinforcing or rebuilding pilings under an esplanade along the East River, and at several marinas in Queens and the Bronx. New York Times, "The Critters Doing $114 Million in Damage to Brooklyn’s Piers," 13 Sep. 2019 Muslim authorities indefinitely closed the Al-Aqsa mosque in east Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, with prayers continuing to be held on the sprawling esplanade outside., "Iran Reports More Than 100 New Virus Deaths as Fears Mount," 29 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'esplanade.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of esplanade

1591, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for esplanade

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

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Time Traveler for esplanade

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The first known use of esplanade was in 1591

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Last Updated

20 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Esplanade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of esplanade

: a level, open area especially : an area for walking or driving along a shore

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