n. A trial, attempt, or endeavor; an effort made; exertion of body or mind to perform or accomplish anything: as, an essay toward reform; an essay of strength.n. An experimental trial; a test.n. An assay or test of the qualities of a metal. See assay, n.n. In lit., a discursive composition concerned with a particular subject, usually shorter and less methodical and finished than a treatise; a short disquisition: as, an essay on the life and writings of Homer; an essay on fossils; an essay on commerce.n. Synonyms Struggle.n. Treatise, dissertation, disquisition, paper, tract, tractate. See definition of treatise.To make trial of; attempt; exert one's power or faculties upon; put to the test: as, to essay a difficult feat; to essay the courage of a braggart.To try and test the value and purity of, as metals. Now written assay (which see).Synonyms Undertake, Endeavor, etc. See attempt.