From French essart from Vulgar Latin exsartum.
assart (countable and uncountable, plural assarts)
- Forest land cleared for agriculture.
- (law, obsolete) The act or offence of grubbing up trees and bushes, and thus destroying the thickets or coverts of a forest.
1607, John Cowell, The Interpreter: or Booke Containing the Signification of Words, Cambridge: John Legate:
[…] an assart of the Forest, is the greatest offence or trespasse of all other, that can be done in the forest, to vert or venison, containing in it as much as waste or more. For whereas the waste of the Forest, is but the felling and cutting downe of the couerts, which may grow againe in time: an assart, is a plucking them vp […]
assart (third-person singular simple present assarts, present participle assarting, simple past and past participle assarted)
- To clear forest land for agriculture; remove stumps.
1661, Thomas Blount, Glossographia, London: George Sawbridge:
[…] if a man sue out a Licence to assart his grounds in the Forest, and to make it several for Tillage, then it is no offence.
- 1775, John Ash, The New and Complete Dictionary of the English Language, London: Edward & Charles Dilly, Volume I,
- ASSART v.t. […] To clear away wood.