Definition of essay in English:


Line breaks: essay


Pronunciation: /ˈɛseɪ
  • 2 formal An attempt or effort: a misjudged essay in job preservation
    More example sentences
    • Tourism at its best is an attempt, an essay, and not all essays are trivial.
    attempt, effort, endeavour, try, venture, trial, experiment, undertaking
    informal crack, go, shot, stab, bash, whack
  • 2.1A trial design of a postage stamp yet to be accepted.
    More example sentences
    • He had a beautiful collection of essays and proofs, obtained largely from the designers and engravers with whom he was intimately acquainted.
    • The Prince Consort essay shown here can be regarded as the forerunner of later Victorian stamps.


Pronunciation: /ɛˈseɪ
[with object] formal Back to top  


late 15th century (as a verb in the sense 'test the quality of'): alteration of assay, by association with Old French essayer, based on late Latin exagium 'weighing', from the base of exigere 'ascertain, weigh'; the noun (late 16th century) is from Old French essai 'trial'.

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a slit made by cutting with a saw