One entry found for easel.
Main Entry: ea·sel
Pronunciation: primarystressemacron-zschwal
Function: noun
Etymology: from Dutch ezel "a frame to hold an artist's canvas," literally, "donkey"
: a frame for supporting something (as an artist's canvas)
Word History An easel is a frame for holding up such things as an artist's painting or a chalkboard. In the 17th century the Dutch had become famous throughout Europe for their oil painting. Thus it was their word ezel, which they used to refer to this piece of equipment, that was borrowed into English at that time. This sense of ezel was an extension of the original meaning "donkey," probably because an easel, like a beast of burden, is used to hold things.
[easel illustration]


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