Etymology: Middle English ese, from Anglo-French eise, aise convenience, comfort, ultimately from Latin adjacent-, adjacens neighboring — more at adjacent
Date: 13th century
1. the state of being comfortable: as
a. freedom from pain or discomfort
b. freedom from care
c. freedom from labor or difficulty
d. freedom from embarrassment or constraint ; naturalness <known for his charm and ease of manner> e. an easy fit 2. relief from discomfort or obligation 3. facility, effortlessness <did it with ease> 4. an act of easing or a state of being eased • easeful adjective • easefully adverb II. verb (eased; easing) Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. to free from something that pains, disquiets, or burdens <trying to ease her of her worries> 2. to make less painful ; alleviate <ease his suffering> 3. a. to lessen the pressure or tension of especially by slackening, lifting, or shifting <ease a spring> b. to maneuver gently or carefully <eased himself into the chair> c. to moderate or reduce especially in amount or intensity <ease a flow> 4. to make less difficult <ease credit> 5. a. to put the helm of (a ship) alee b. to let (a helm or rudder) come back a little after having been put hard over intransitive verb 1. to give freedom or relief 2. to move or pass slowly or easily — often used with a directional word (as over or up) <the limo eased up in front of the house> 3. a. to become less intense, vigorous, or engaged ; become moderate — usually used with up or off <told her staff to ease up a little> <expected the storm to ease off> <ease up on fatty foods> b. to apply less pressure — usually used with up or off <ease up on the accelerator> c. to act in a less harsh manner — usually used with up or off <decided to ease off on enforcement>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.