easement

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English[edit]

In this diagram, A, the owner of the back lot, requires an easement (sense 1) to use the driveway passing across the front lot owned by someone else in order to access the public street

Etymology[edit]

From Anglo-Norman aisement, easement, eisement, esament, esement, and Middle French aisement(comfort, convenience, ease, facility, opportunity; a benefit, relief; a right to use land, a thing, etc.; a privy), from aisier(to put at ease; to facilitate) + -ment(-ment, suffix forming nouns, usually the action or state resulting from verbs).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

easement (plural easements)

  1. (architecture) An element such as a baseboard, handrail, etc., that is curved instead of abruptly changing direction.
    • 1986, Jack P[ayne] Jones, “Designing and Building Stairs”, in Handbook of Construction Contracting, volume 1 (Plans, Specs, Building), Carlsbad, Calif.: Craftsman Book Company, ISBN 978-0-934041-11-9, page 240:
      The curved part of the rail where it joins the newel is called an easement. Often, however, the rail joins the newel without an easement.
    • 2013, Floyd Vogt, Carpentry, 6th edition, Clifton Park, N.Y.: Delmar, Cengage Learning, ISBN 978-1-133-60736-6, page 932:
      In preparation for laying out the easement used to join the first- and second-flight handrails, tack a piece of plywood about 5 inches wide to the bottom side of the gooseneck fitting and the handrail of the first flight. These pieces are used to rest the connecting easement against when laying out the joint.
  2. (archaic) Easing, relief.
  3. (archaic, euphemistic) The act of relieving oneself: defecating or urinating.
    • 2011, Lucy Worsley, “The Whole World is a Toilet”, in If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, London: Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-25954-0, page 153:
      [T]he lowest servants at Hampton Court used the great communal toilet capable of seating fourteen people at once named the ‘Common Jakes’ or the ‘Great House of Easement’. This giant facility discharged into a tank which was washed clean by the waters of the moat. Even so, the tank emitted a dreadful smell and frequently had to be scrubbed clean.
    • 2013, Shirley McKay, “A Merry Month”, in Friend & Foe (A Hew Cullen Mystery), Edinburgh: Polygon, ISBN 978-1-84697-217-1:
      He lit candles in the passage next to Patrick's closet, where his lordship wrote his letters, did his easement, took his bath, and knelt on winter nights to say his blackest prayers.

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