Definitions for: Essay

[n] a tentative attempt
[n] an analytic or interpretive literary composition
[v] make an effort or attempt; "He tried to shake off his fears"; "The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"; "The police attempted to stop the thief"; "He sought to improve himself"; "She always seeks to do good in the world"
[v] put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to; "This approach has been tried with good results"; "Test this recipe"

Webster (1913) Definition: Es"say, n.; pl. Essays. [F. essai, fr. L. exagium a
weighing, weight, balance; ex out + agere to drive, do; cf.
examen, exagmen, a means of weighing, a weighing, the tongue
of a balance, exigere to drive out, examine, weigh, Gr.
'exa`gion a weight, 'exagia`zein to examine, 'exa`gein to
drive out, export. See Agent, and cf. Exact, Examine,
1. An effort made, or exertion of body or mind, for the
performance of anything; a trial; attempt; as, to make an
essay to benefit a friend. ``The essay at organization.''
--M. Arnold.

2. (Lit.) A composition treating of any particular subject;
-- usually shorter and less methodical than a formal,
finished treatise; as, an essay on the life and writings
of Homer; an essay on fossils, or on commerce.

3. An assay. See Assay, n. [Obs.]

Syn: Attempt; trial; endeavor; effort; tract; treatise;
dissertation; disquisition.

Es*say", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Essayed; p. pr. & vb. n.
Essaying.] [F. essayer. See Essay, n.]
1. To exert one's power or faculties upon; to make an effort
to perform; to attempt; to endeavor; to make experiment or
trial of; to try.

What marvel if I thus essay to sing? --Byron.

Essaying nothing she can not perform. --Emerson.

A danger lest the young enthusiast . . . should
essay the impossible. --J. C.

2. To test the value and purity of (metals); to assay. See
Assay. [Obs.] --Locke.

Synonyms: assay, attempt, seek, try

See Also: act, adventure, attempt, chance, composition, control, disquisition, effort, endeavor, endeavor, endeavour, endeavour, essay, examine, field-test, fight, float, gamble, give it a try, give it a whirl, grope, hazard, judge, lay on the line, memoir, move, paper, pick up the gauntlet, piece of writing, prove, put on the line, report, risk, run a risk, strive, struggle, take a chance, take a dare, take chances, test, theme, try, try out, verify, writing, written material

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