Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
a. A short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the author.
b. Something resembling such a composition: a photojournalistic essay.
2. A testing or trial of the value or nature of a thing: an essay of the students' capabilities.
3. An initial attempt or endeavor, especially a tentative attempt.
tr.v. (ĕ-sā′, ĕs′ā′) es·sayed, es·say·ing, es·says
1. To make an attempt at; try.
2. To subject to a test.
[French essai, trial, attempt, from Old French, from essayer, to attempt, from Vulgar Latin *exagiāre, to weigh out, from Late Latin exagium, a weighing : Latin ex-, ex- + Latin agere, to drive; see ag- in Indo-European roots. V., from Middle English assaien, from Old French assaer, assaier, variant of essayer.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a person who attempts or tries
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014