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verb es·say \e-ˈsā, ə-ˈsā, ˈe-ˌsā\

: to try to do, perform, or deal with (something)

Full Definition of ESSAY

transitive verb
:  to put to a test
:  to make an often tentative or experimental effort to perform :  try
es·say·er noun

Examples of ESSAY

  1. There is no hint as to which of the approaches essayed in this book will prove most useful.
  2. <he had been in gymnastics for some time before he even considered essaying that move>

First Known Use of ESSAY

14th century

Synonym Discussion of ESSAY

attempt, try, endeavor, essay, strive mean to make an effort to accomplish an end. attempt stresses the initiation or beginning of an effort <will attempt to photograph the rare bird>. try is often close to attempt but may stress effort or experiment made in the hope of testing or proving something <tried to determine which was the better procedure>. endeavor heightens the implications of exertion and difficulty <endeavored to find crash survivors in the mountains>. essay implies difficulty but also suggests tentative trying or experimenting <will essay a dramatic role for the first time>. strive implies great exertion against great difficulty and specifically suggests persistent effort <continues to strive for peace>.

Rhymes with ESSAY

abbé, affray, agley, airplay, airway, aisleway, all-day, allay, allée, Angers, Anhui, archway, array, ashtray, assay, astray, Augier, away, aweigh, backstay, ballet, base pay, bat ray, beignet, belay, beltway, benday, beret, betray, bewray, bidet, bikeway, birthday, Biscay, Bizet, blasé, bobstay, Bombay, Bossuet, bouchée, bouclé, boule, bouquet, Bourget, bourrée, breezeway, Bouvet, Broadway, buffet, byplay, byway, cachet, café, cahier, Cambay, Cathay, causeway, chaîné, chalet, chambray, chassé, child's play, ciré, cliché, congé, convey, co-pay, Corday, corvée, coudé, coupé, crawlway, crochet, croquet, crossway, cube, curé, cy pres, DA, daresay, D-day, death ray, decay, deejay, defray, delay, dengue, dismay, display, distrait, DJ, donnée, doomsday, doorway, dossier, downplay, dragée, driveway, duvet, Earl Grey, embay, épée, estray, Ewe, fair play, fairway, Feuillet, field day, filé, filet, fillet, fireclay, fishway, flambé, flight pay, floodway, flyway, folkway, footway, foray, force play, forebay, foreplay, forestay, formée, forte, fouetté, foul play, Fouquet, four-way, fourchée, foyer, franglais, frappé, freeway, Friday, frieze, fumet, gainsay, Galway, gamay, gangway, gateway, gelée, give way, glacé, godet, gourmet, Green Bay, greenway, guideway, gunplay, hair spray, halfway, hallway, Hannay, harm's way, hatchway, headway, hearsay, Hebei, Hefei, heyday, highway, hold sway, homestay, hooray, horseplay, Hubei, in play, in re, inlay, inveigh, Islay, issei, jackstay, James Bay, jennet, jeté, Jetway, Jolliet, keyway, Kobe, koine, kouprey, lamé, laneway, lay day, leeway, lifeway, Lomé, Lord's day, lwei, lycée, M-day, maguey, mainstay, make hay, Malay, malgré, man-day, Mande, Manet, manqué, margay, massé, match play, maté, May Day, Medway, melee, meze, midday, midway, Midway, Millay, Millet, mislay, misplay, moiré, Monday, Monet, Mornay, name day, Niamey, nisei, noonday, Norway, nosegay, obey, OK, olé, ombré, one-way, osprey, Otway, outlay, outré, outstay, outweigh, oyez, PA, parfait, parkway, parlay, parquet, partway, passé, pâté, pathway, pavé, payday, pearl gray, per se, pince-nez, pipe clay, piqué, piquet, pith ray, PK, plié, plissé, pommée, Pompeii, portray, prepay, projet, pulque, puree, purvey, quale, Quesnay, raceway, Rahway, railway, rappee, red bay, relay, repay, replay, risqué, roadway, Roget, role-play, ropeway, rosé, rosebay, Roubaix, roué, routeway, runway, sachet, saint's day, Salé, sansei, sashay, sauté, screenplay, scrub jay, seaway, Shark Bay, shar-pei, shipway, short-day, sick bay, sick day, sick pay, sideway, skyway, slideway, slipway, sluiceway, soigné, soiree, someday, someway, soothsay, soufflé, speedway, spillway, squeeze play, stairway, sternway, stingray, straightway, strathspey, stroke play, subway, Sunday, survey, sweet bay, swordplay, tea tray, tempeh, thoughtway, thruway, Thursday, tideway, today, Tokay, tollway, Torbay, touché, toupee, trackway, tramway, Tuesday, Twelfth Day, two-way, unlay, unsay, valet, V-day, veejay, vide, visé, Vouvray, walkway, waylay, Wednesday, weekday, white way, windway, wood ray, wordplay, workday


noun es·say \ˈe-ˌsā; senses 1, 2 & 4 also e-ˈsā\

: a short piece of writing that tells a person's thoughts or opinions about a subject

Full Definition of ESSAY

:  trial, test
a :  effort, attempt; especially :  an initial tentative effort
b :  the result or product of an attempt
a :  an analytic or interpretative literary composition usually dealing with its subject from a limited or personal point of view
b :  something resembling such a composition <a photographic essay>
:  a proof of an unaccepted design for a stamp or piece of paper money

Examples of ESSAY

  1. Your assignment is to write a 500-word essay on one of Shakespeare's sonnets.
  2. The book is a collection of his previously unpublished essays on a variety of topics.

Origin of ESSAY

Middle French essai, ultimately from Late Latin exagium act of weighing, from Latin ex- + agere to drive — more at agent
First Known Use: 14th century
ESSAYS Defined for Kids


noun es·say \ˈe-ˌsā\

Definition of ESSAY for Kids

:  a short piece of writing that tells a person's thoughts or opinions about a subject


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