August 26, 2012
easel (noun)
\EE-zul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a frame for supporting something (as an artist's canvas)
How do you use it?
Leo realized that the purchase of paints and brushes would have to wait until he had bought an easel to hold his canvas.
Are you a word wiz?

The word "easel," which we associate with art, originated from the Dutch name for an animal. What animal do you think gave its name to the "easel"?

"Easel" most likely comes from "ezel," the Dutch word for "donkey." Scholars think the Dutch might have started using "ezel" to name the artist's frame because the two function similarly: the donkey is a beast of burden that holds and carries things and the artist's frame holds and carries paints, canvases, and brushes. By 1596, English speakers had adopted the Dutch word, respelling it "easel." They probably chose the Dutch name because they admired the magnificent oil paintings by the Dutch master artists who were then famous throughout Europe.
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