Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

ease - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     ease pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleeasing
past tenseeased
past participleeased
  1. 1
    [transitive] to make a problem, bad situation, or pain less severe

    Sometimes a mild painkiller is enough to ease the pain.

    Colleagues are trying to ease the pressure she is under at work.

    1. a.
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to move somewhere slowly and carefully
    ease into/out of/up etc.:

    She eased into the seat behind the desk.

    ease yourself:

    Joseph eased himself off the bed.

    ease your way:

    I eased my way through the crowd.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to move something somewhere slowly and carefully
      ease out of/away from:

      Monica slowly eased the cork out of the champagne bottle.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to make a rule or punishment less severe

    Sanctions against the country should be eased.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to make a process easier

    These ideas helped to ease our transition to democracy.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] if bad weather such as wind or rain eases, it becomes less strong
  6. 6
    [intransitive/transitive] to become more relaxed or less tight, or to make something do this

    I waited until the child’s breathing eased.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play