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4 definitions found
 for essay
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Essay \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.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              What marvel if I thus essay to sing?  --Byron.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Essaying nothing she can not perform. --Emerson.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              A danger lest the young enthusiast . . . should
              essay the impossible.                 --J. C.
                                                    Shairp.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. To test the value and purity of (metals); to assay. See
        Assay. [Obs.] --Locke.
        [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Essay \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,
     Assay.]
     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.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     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.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     3. An assay. See Assay, n. [Obs.]
  
     Syn: Attempt; trial; endeavor; effort; tract; treatise;
          dissertation; disquisition.
          [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  essay
      n 1: an analytic or interpretive literary composition
      2: a tentative attempt
      v 1: 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" [syn:
           try, seek, attempt, essay, assay]
      2: put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use
         to; "This approach has been tried with good results"; "Test
         this recipe" [syn: test, prove, try, try out,
         examine, essay]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  176 Moby Thesaurus words for "essay":
     acid test, approach, article, assay, attempt, autograph, bid,
     blank determination, brainchild, bring to test, brouillon,
     causerie, chance, composition, computer printout, confirm, copy,
     crack, criterion, crucial test, crucible, cut and try, descant,
     determination, discourse, discussion, disquisition, dissertation,
     docimasy, document, draft, edited version, effort, endeavor,
     engage, engrossment, etude, examination, excursus, exertion,
     experiment, explication, exposition, fair copy, feature,
     feeling out, fiction, final draft, finished version,
     first approach, first draft, flimsy, fling, gambit, give a try,
     give a tryout, go, go about, hassle, have a go, holograph, homily,
     introductory study, kiteflying, labor, letter, lick, lift a finger,
     literae scriptae, literary artefact, literary production,
     literature, lucubration, make an attempt, make an effort,
     manuscript, matter, memoir, monograph, morceau, move, nonfiction,
     note, offer, opus, ordeal, original, outline, pandect, paper,
     paragraph, parchment, penscript, piece, piece of writing, play,
     play around with, poem, practice upon, preliminary study,
     printed matter, printout, probation, production, prolegomenon,
     proof, prove, put to trial, reading matter, recension, research,
     research paper, road-test, rough draft, rough sketch, run a sample,
     sample, screed, scrip, script, scrive, scroll, second draft, seek,
     shake down, shot, sketch, sounding out, special article, stab,
     standard, step, strive, striving, stroke, strong bid, struggle,
     study, substantiate, survey, tackle, taste, tentative, term paper,
     test, test case, the written word, theme, thesis, toil, touchstone,
     tract, tractate, transcript, transcription, travail, treatise,
     treatment, trial, trial and error, try, try it on, try out,
     typescript, undertake, undertaking, validate, venture, venture on,
     venture upon, verification, verify, version, whack, work,
     writing
  
  

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