This is why Latin IS English!! Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 18, 2008 is: esplanade • ESS-pluh-nahd • noun: a level open stretch of paved or grassy ground; especially : one designed for walking or driving along a shore. Example sentence: While walking along the esplanade, we stopped to enjoy yet another gorgeous ocean sunset. The history of “esplanade” is completely on the level. The Italians created “spianata,” for a level stretch of ground, from their verb “spianare,” which means “to make level.” “Spianare” in turn comes from the Latin verb “explanare,” which also means “to make level” and which is the source of our verb “explain.” Middle-French speakers borrowed “spianata” as “esplanade,” and in the late 1500s we borrowed the French word. In the late 17th century, and even later, esplanades were associated with war. The word was used to refer to a clear space between a citadel and the nearest house of a town or to a slope around a fortification used for defense against attack. Today, however, esplanades are usually for enjoyment.