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Meaning of ESSAY

Pronunciation:  [n]'esey, [v]e'sey, e'sey

WordNet Dictionary
  1. [n]  a tentative attempt
  2. [n]  an analytic or interpretive literary composition
  3. [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"
  4. [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"

ESSAY is a 5 letter word that starts with E.


 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



Webster's 1913 Dictionary
  1. \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.
  2. \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.
Thesaurus Terms
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