Definition of essay noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈeseɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈeseɪ//
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  1. 1  essay (on something) a short piece of writing by a student as part of a course of study an essay on the causes of the First World War
  2. 2   essay (on something) a short piece of writing on a particular subject, written in order to be published The book contains a number of interesting essays on women in society.
  3. 3essay (in something) (formal) an attempt to do something His first essay in politics was a complete disaster.
  4. Word Originlate 15th cent. (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 cent.) is from Old French essai ‘trial’.Extra examples A version of this essay was presented at the Astronomical Society. Essays handed in late will not be accepted. Have you done your essay yet? He concludes the essay by calling for a corrective. He made some very good points in his essay. I finished my essay about 10 o’clock last night! In 2001 she published a collection of essays. Lunch was the only time she could finish her essay assignment. The essays explore Einstein’s personal development. The fifteen essays collected in this volume. This essay provides a comprehensive overview of the subject. We have to write an essay on the environment. You have to answer 3 out of 8 essay questions in the exam. an essay by Montaigne an essay entitled ‘Memory’ the teenage winner of an essay contest ‘An Essay on the Principle of Population’ by Thomas Malthus We have to write an essay on the causes of the First World War.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: essay

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