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Noun, Verb (transitive)


Noun essay has 2 senses

Verb essay has 2 senses


essayn. [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.].
  •  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.  M. Arnold.  [1913 Webster]
  •  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]
  •  An assay. See Assay, n.
Syn. -- Attempt; trial; endeavor; effort; tract; treatise; dissertation; disquisition.
essayv. t. [F. essayer. See Essay, n.].
  •  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?"  [1913 Webster]
    "Essaying nothing she can not perform."  [1913 Webster]
    "A danger lest the young enthusiast . . . should essay the impossible."  [1913 Webster]
  •  To test the value and purity of (metals); to assay. See Assay.  Locke.  [1913 Webster]


essay, n. & v.
1 a composition, usu. short and in prose, on any subject.
2 (often foll. by at, in) formal an attempt.
--v.tr. formal attempt, try.

essayist n.
ME f. ASSAY, assim. to F essayer ult. f. LL exagium weighing f. exigere weigh: see EXACT



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




N dissertation, treatise, essay, thesis, theme, monograph, tract, tractate, tractation, discourse, memoir, disquisition, lecture, sermon, homily, pandect, excursus, commentary, review, critique, criticism, article, leader, leading article, editorial, running commentary, investigation, study, discussion, exposition, commentator, critic, essayist, pamphleteer, discursive, discoursive, disquisitionary, expository.


N essay, trial, endeavor, attempt, aim, struggle, venture, adventure, speculation, coup d'essai, debut, probation, essaying, experimental, tentative, empirical, probationary, experimentally, on trial, at a venture, by rule of thumb, if one may be so bold, aut non tentaris aut perfice, chi non s'arrischia non guadagna.

VB try, essay, experiment, endeavor, strive, tempt, attempt, make an attempt, venture, adventure, speculate, take one's chance, tempt fortune, try one's fortune, try one's luck, try one's hand, use one's endeavor, feel one's way, grope one's way, pick one's way, try hard, push, make a bold push, use one's best endeavor, do one's best.


N experiment, essay, analysis, screen, trial, tentative method, t=atonnement, verification, probation, experimentum crucis, proof, (demonstration), criterion, diagnostic, test, probe, crucial test, acid test, litmus test, crucible, reagent, check, touchstone, pix, assay, ordeal, ring, litmus paper, curcuma paper, turmeric paper, test tube, analytical instruments, empiricism, rule of thumb, feeler, trial balloon, pilot balloon, messenger balloon, pilot engine, scout, straw to show the wind, speculation, random shot, leap in the dark, analyzer, analyst, assayist, adventurer, experimenter, experimentist, experimentalist, scientist, engineer, technician, subject, experimentee, guinea pig, experimental animal, protocol, experimental method, blind experiment, double-blind experiment, controlled experiment, poll, survey, opinion poll, epidemiological survey, retrospective analysis, retrospective survey, prospective survey, prospective analysis, statistical analysis, literature search, library research, tryout, audition, discovery, measurement, evidence, deduction, induction, abduction, experimental, empirical, probative, probatory, probationary, provisional, analytic, docimastic, tentative, unverified, unproven, speculative, untested, on trial, under examination, on probation, under probation, on one's trial, on approval, check it out, give it a try, see how it goes, Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

VB experiment, essay, try, try out, assay, make an experiment, make a trial of, give a trial to, put on trial, subject to trial, experiment upon, rehearse, put to the test, bring to the test, submit to the test, submit to the proof, prove, verify, test, touch, practice upon, try one's strength, road-test, test drive, take for a spin, test fly, grope, feel one's way, grope for one's way, fumble, t=atonner, aller =a t=atons, put out a feeler, throw out a feeler, send up a trial balloon, send up a pilot balloon, see how the land lies, get the lay of the land, test the waters, feel out, sound out, take the pulse, see, check, check out, see how the wind blows, consult the barometer, feel the pulse, fish for, bob for, cast for, beat about for, angle, trawl, cast one's net, beat the bushes, try one's fortune, explore.

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