Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A flat open stretch of pavement or grass, especially one designed as a promenade along a shore.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A clear space between a citadel and the nearest houses of the town.
  • n. The glacis of the counterscarp, or the slope of the parapet of the covered way toward the country.
  • n. A grass plat; a lawn.
  • n. Any clear, level space used for public walks or drives; esp., a terrace by the seaside.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A clear space between a citadel and the nearest houses of the town.
  • n. The glacis of the counterscarp, or the slope of the parapet of the covered way toward the country.
  • n. A grass plat; a lawn.
  • n. Any clear, level space used for public walks or drives; esp., a terrace by the seaside.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In fort.; The glacis of the counterscarp, or the sloping of the parapet of the covered way toward the country.
  • n. The open space between the glacis of a citadel and the first houses of the town.
  • n. Any open level space or course near a town, especially a kind of terrace along the seaside, for public walks or drives.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a long stretch of open level ground (paved or grassy) for walking beside the seashore

Etymologies

French, from Italian spianata, from spianare, to level, from Latin explānāre, to make plain; see explain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1590s, from French esplanade ("clear, level space"), from Spanish esplanada (explanada), form of esplanar ("to flatten, to make level"), from Latin explānāre, from which English explain; see also plain ("level area, to flatten"), and Italian spianata, from spianare. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The town-head fronted the upper bay, and between it and the grinding ice on the shore lay a broad tract of what might be called esplanade, presenting ample space for our encounter.

    John Splendid The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn

  • In front of the esplanade is the splendid pile commenced by Charles V, intended, it is said, to eclipse the residence of the Moslem kings.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 8

  • Ellen Barfoot in her bath-chair on the esplanade was a prisoner -- civilization's prisoner -- all the bars of her cage falling across the esplanade on sunny days when the town hall, the drapery stores, the swimming-bath, and the memorial hall striped the ground with shadow.

    Jacob's Room

  • This declivity runs between detached villas and stone walls, sheltering prim gardens, right on to the west end of the esplanade, which is, in fact, a continuation of it.

    The Man Who Lost Himself

  • The esplanade was a broad walk extending the entire width of the building, and conforming to it.

    A Spoil of Office A Story of the Modern West

  • Before I had gained her house I met her, as I supposed, coming toward me across the down, greeting me from afar with the familiar twinkle of her great vitreous badge; and as it was late in the autumn and the esplanade was a blank I was free to acknowledge this signal by cutting a caper on the grass.

    Embarrassments

  • The wall of the esplanade was a continued series of pointed arches, with a handsome frieze above it.

    Across India Or, Live Boys in the Far East

  • It is built on an immense esplanade, which is mounted by three flights of stairs, each in the form of the three sides of a pyramid, and each leading to an immense pointed arch, the entrances to the buildings.

    Across India Or, Live Boys in the Far East

  • We then walked up the High Street, or esplanade, which is open to the river except where the shore is cumbered with boats, hides, lumber, and beach-negroes.

    To the Gold Coast for Gold A Personal Narrative in Two Volumes.—Volume I

  • The best point of view is, I think, from the esplanade, which is distant some five minutes 'walk from the hotels.

    North America — Volume 1

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Comments

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  • To attempt an explanation while drunk. --Mensa word list winner 2006

    March 2, 2007