UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈɛseɪ/

US:USA pronuncation: IPAUSA pronuncation: IPA/n. ˈɛseɪ or, for 2, ɛˈseɪ; v. ɛˈseɪ/

US:USA pronunciation: respellingUSA pronunciation: respelling(n. esā for 1, 2; esā, e sā for 35; v. e sā)

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
es•say /n. ˈɛseɪ or, for 3., ɛˈseɪ; v. ɛˈseɪ/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. Literaturea short piece of writing on a particular theme or subject.
  2. an effort to perform or accomplish something;

v. [+ object]
  1. to try;
    attempt:She essayed a short jump.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
es•say  (n. esā for 1, 2; esā, e sā for 3–5;
e sā),USA pronunciation
  1. Literaturea 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;
  4. Stamps[Philately.]a design for a proposed stamp differing in any way from the design of the stamp as issued.
  5. [Obs.]a tentative effort;

  1. to try;
  2. to put to the test;
    make trial of.
es•sayer, n. 
  • Late Latin exagium a weighing, equivalent. to *exag(ere), for Latin exigere to examine, test, literally, to drive out (see exact) + -ium -ium
  • Middle French essayer, cognate with Anglo-French assayer to assay
  • 1475–85

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
essay n /ˈɛseɪ; (for senses 2, 3 also) ɛˈseɪ/
  1. a short literary composition dealing with a subject analytically or speculatively
  2. an attempt or endeavour; effort
  3. a test or trial
vb /ɛˈseɪ/(transitive)
  1. to attempt or endeavour; try
  2. to test or try out
Etymology: 15th Century: 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
'essay' also found in these entries:
Collocations: dated, UK: essayed a [leap, sprint, smile], an [interesting, engrossing] essay (on), essay [writing, questions], more...

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