wellessayed

essay

[n. es-ey for 1, 2; es-ey, e-sey for 3–5; v. e-sey]
noun
1.
a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.
2.
anything resembling such a composition: a picture essay.
3.
an effort to perform or accomplish something; attempt.
4.
Philately. a design for a proposed stamp differing in any way from the design of the stamp as issued.
5.
Obsolete. a tentative effort; trial; assay.
verb (used with object)
6.
to try; attempt.
7.
to put to the test; make trial of.

Origin:
1475–85; < Middle French essayer, cognate with Anglo-French assayer to assay < Late Latin exagium a weighing, equivalent to *exag(ere), for Latin exigere to examine, test, literally, to drive out (see exact) + -ium -ium

essayer, noun
preessay, verb (used without object)
unessayed, adjective
well-essayed, adjective

assay, essay.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
essay
 
n
1.  a short literary composition dealing with a subject analytically or speculatively
2.  an attempt or endeavour; effort
3.  a test or trial
 
vb
4.  to attempt or endeavour; try
5.  to test or try out
 
[C15: from Old French essaier to attempt, from essai an attempt, from Late Latin exagium a weighing, from Latin agere to do, compel, influenced by exigere to investigate]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

essay
1590s, "short non-fiction literary composition" (first attested in writings of Francis Bacon, probably in imitation of Montaigne), from M.Fr. essai "trial, attempt, essay," from L.L. exagium "a weighing, weight," from L. exigere "test," from ex- "out" + agere apparently meaning here "to weigh." The
suggestion is of unpolished writing. The more literal verb meaning "to put to proof, test the mettle of" is from late 15c.; this sense has mostly gone with the divergent spelling assay (q.v.). Related: Essayed; essaying. Essayist is from c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

essay definition


A short piece of writing on one subject, usually presenting the author's own views. Michel de Montaigne, Francis Bacon, and Ralph Waldo Emerson are celebrated for their essays.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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