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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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 Palestinians accused Israel of not doing enough to enforce a longstanding ban on Jewish prayer on the esplanade. David S. Cloud, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 The Fountain Square esplanade was built on the site in the middle of Fifth Street and the fountain was dedicated on Oct. 6, 1871. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 22 Apr. 2022 Opened in 2021, the hotel is a charming Spanish oasis located on Española Way, South Beach’s historic esplanade that’s lined with local restaurants and shops. Lea Lane, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 Israeli police used a drone to drop tear gas on them, sending crowds of people scattering across the esplanade. Ilan Ben Zion, ajc, 24 Apr. 2022 Sandoval directed the driver of a car to stop as Estrada crossed the street in her electric wheelchair en route to the Miraflores Malecón, an esplanade overlooking the ocean. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022 In the 1960s, the fountain was moved off the esplanade to a new Fountain Square at Fifth and Vine streets. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 22 Apr. 2022 But to Muslims, this is the Aqsa Mosque compound, a 36-acre esplanade that includes the golden Dome of the Rock, a shrine marking the Prophet Muhammad’s ascent. New York Times, 17 Apr. 2022 Palestinians threw rocks and fireworks, and police fired tear gas and stun grenades on the sprawling esplanade surrounding the mosque. Joseph Krauss, USA TODAY, 15 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of esplanade was in 1591

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Esplanade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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