Two students working on an essay together.
- The definition of an essay is a short piece of writing that expresses information as well as the writer’s opinion.
An example of an essay is a short paper about why smoking is bad for you.
- To essay is defined as to try something.
An example of to essay is to ask a date specific questions to see if they are a good match for you.
- to test the nature or quality of; try out
- to try; attempt
Origin of essayOld French essayer from Vulgar Latin an unverified form exagiare from Late Latin exagium, a weight, weighing from ex-, out of + agere, to do: see act
- a trying or testing
- an attempt; trial
- a short literary composition of an analytical, interpretive, or reflective kind, dealing with its subject in a nontechnical, limited, often unsystematic way and, usually, expressive of the author's outlook and personality
- a proposed design for a new postage stamp or piece of paper money
Origin of essayOFr essai < LL exagium
- 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.
- A testing or trial of the value or nature of a thing: an essay of the students' capabilities.
- An initial attempt or endeavor, especially a tentative attempt.
transitive verbes·sayed, es·say·ing, es·says
- To make an attempt at; try.
- To subject to a test.
Origin of essayFrench 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
- A written composition of moderate length exploring a particular issue or subject.
- (now rare) An attempt.
(third-person singular simple present essays, present participle essaying, simple past and past participle essayed)
From Middle French essai.