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



verbVerb Forms present simple I / you / we / they essay
BrE BrE//eˈseɪ//
; NAmE NAmE//eˈseɪ//
he / she / it essays
BrE BrE//eˈseɪz//
; NAmE NAmE//eˈseɪz//
past simple essayed
BrE BrE//eˈseɪd//
; NAmE NAmE//eˈseɪd//
past participle essayed
BrE BrE//eˈseɪd//
; NAmE NAmE//eˈseɪd//
-ing form essaying
BrE BrE//eˈseɪɪŋ//
; NAmE NAmE//eˈseɪɪŋ//
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BrE BrE//eˈseɪ//
; NAmE NAmE//eˈseɪ//
essay something (literary) to try to do something
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’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: essay

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