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 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 Windsong Ranch has over 30 miles of wide walking, hike-and-bike trails, pocket parks, large event lawns and esplanades, a full disc golf course, mountain bike course and large stocked lakes. Dallas News, "Amenities, land plan help community enjoy time at home," 11 Apr. 2020 The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro esplanade is unobstructed, without the usual groups of posing tourists. Cameron Hood, The New Yorker, "Under Coronavirus Lockdown, a Paris Without People-Watching," 14 Apr. 2020 The display on the concrete esplanade of one of Mexico City’s first Metro stations was put on by an arts foundation called LuchArte to commemorate 50 years of the city’s heavily trafficked subway system. Washington Post, "Mexican wrestlers thrill public at historic Metro station," 22 Dec. 2019 The kings, Chauvet explained, would simply cross the esplanade to come and attend Mass., "PARIS (AP) — Notre Dame kept Christmas going even during two world wars — a beacon of hope amid the bloodshed.," 21 Dec. 2019 The kings, Chauvet explained, would simply cross the esplanade to come and attend Mass., "PARIS (AP) — Notre Dame kept Christmas going even during two world wars — a beacon of hope amid the bloodshed.," 21 Dec. 2019 The move also opened up views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the East River esplanade. John Freeman Gill, New York Times, "A Slice of the Fulton Fish Market Gets A New Life," 28 Feb. 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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The first known use of esplanade was in 1591

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Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Esplanade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce esplanade (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of esplanade

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

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