- 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 essaying
Terrible was their strength and swiftness; and they were essaying to scale heaven and attack the gods.Symposium
For Miss Upton's escort had jumped out and she was essaying to leave the car.In Apple-Blossom Time</p>
Clara Louise Burnham
"Time's up, sir," shouted the guard, essaying to close the door.
Essaying a diversion, he addressed the girl in rapid Spanish.Dust of the Desert
Robert Welles Ritchie
The priest, essaying his unctuous voice, tried to set things right.Dust of New York
- 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 essaying
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.