- a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.
- anything resembling such a composition: a picture essay.
- an effort to perform or accomplish something; attempt.
- Philately. a design for a proposed stamp differing in any way from the design of the stamp as issued.
- Obsolete. a tentative effort; trial; assay.
- to try; attempt.
- to put to the test; make trial of.
Origin of essay
Examples from the Web for essayed
But nothing they essayed could fully drown out the keening of their lust to return to high office.Tony Blair May Be Planning a Political Comeback but in What Role It’s Hard to Imagine
May 5, 2012
She essayed to introduce Gracie; not one of them attempted a bow.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
The chair was placed, and Miss Lucindy essayed to climb, but vainly.
So they went bobbing about in a tub, and we, with a like paucity of equipment, essayed to follow them.
There was a man with tongue of wood Who essayed to sing, And in truth it was lamentable.War is Kind
He took the pen in his graspless hand, and essayed to write.The Shadow of a Crime
- a short literary composition dealing with a subject analytically or speculatively
- an attempt or endeavour; effort
- a test or trial
- to attempt or endeavour; try
- to test or try out
Word Origin and History for essayed
1590s, "short non-fiction literary composition" (first attested in writings of Francis Bacon, probably in imitation of Montaigne), from Middle French essai "trial, attempt, essay," from Late Latin exagium "a weighing, weight," from Latin exigere "test," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + agere (see act) apparently meaning here "to weigh." The suggestion is of unpolished writing.