Rest, repose, relaxation, leisure, ease, comfort are comparable when they mean freedom from toil or strain.
Rest, the most general term, implies withdrawal from all labor or exertion and suggests an opposition to the term work; it does not in itself explicitly imply a particular way of spending one’s time, but it does suggest as an aim or as a result the overcoming of physical or mental weariness.
Repose implies freedom from motion or movement and suggests not only physical quiet (as in sleeping or slumbering) but also mental quiet and freedom from anything that disturbs, annoys, agitates, or confuses. Typically the term suggests tranquillity or peace or the refreshment that comes from complete quiet or rest.
Relaxation may imply rest that comes from diversion or recreation but it usually stresses either a releasing of the tension that keeps muscles taut and fit for work or the mind keyed up to the processes of clear and prolonged thinking, or a physical and mental slackening that finally induces repose.
Leisure implies exemption from the labor imposed upon one by a trade or profession or by duties; it may apply to the hours in which one is not engaged in one’s daily work, or to the period in which one is on vacation, or to the entire time of a person who is not compelled to earn his living.
Leisure, therefore, stresses freedom from compulsion, or routine, or continuous work; it usually suggests not freedom from activity but the freedom to determine one’s activities.
Ease (see also READINESS ) stresses exemption from toil, but it also implies a freedom from whatever worries or disturbs and from what demands physical or mental activity. In contrast to leisure it implies rest and repose; in addition it suggests either complete relaxation of mind and body or a state of mind that finds no attraction in work or activity.
But ease may also imply absence of strain, especially mental or nervous strain, rather than freedom from toil.
Comfort differs from the other words of this group in carrying little if any suggestion of freedom from toil; it applies rather to a state of mind induced by relief from all that strains or inconveniences or causes pain, disquiet, or discontent.
Positively it suggests perfect well-being and a feeling of quiet enjoyment or content.