Entries linking to easeful
c. 1200, "physical comfort, undisturbed state of the body; tranquility, peace of mind," from Old French aise "comfort, pleasure, well-being; opportunity," which is of uncertain origin. According to Watkins is ultimately from Latin adiacens "lying at," present participle of adiacere "lie at, border upon, lie near," from ad "to" (see ad-) + iacere "to lie, rest," literally "to throw" (from PIE root *ye- "to throw, impel"). Recent dictionaries in English and French seem to support this derivation, though older sources found objections to it. Compare adagio.
At ease "at rest, at peace, in comfort" is from late 14c.; as a military order (1802) the word denotes "freedom from stiffness or formality."
word-forming element attached to nouns (and in modern English to verb stems) and meaning "full of, having, characterized by," also "amount or volume contained" (handful, bellyful); from Old English -full, -ful, which is full (adj.) become a suffix by being coalesced with a preceding noun, but originally a separate word. Cognate with German -voll, Old Norse -fullr, Danish -fuld. Most English -ful adjectives at one time or another had both passive ("full of x") and active ("causing x; full of occasion for x") senses.
It is rare in Old English and Middle English, where full was much more commonly attached at the head of a word (for example Old English fulbrecan "to violate," fulslean "to kill outright," fulripod "mature;" Middle English had ful-comen "attain (a state), realize (a truth)," ful-lasting "durability," ful-thriven "complete, perfect," etc.).
updated on October 13, 2020