A composition that is usually short and has a literary theme is called an essay. You should probably start writing your essay on "To Kill a Mockingbird" sometime before the bus ride to school the day it is due.

As a noun, an essay is also an attempt, especially a tentative initial one. Your essay to make friends at your new school would probably work better if you actually spoke to other students. As a verb, to essay is to make an attempt. If you essay to run for student council, you might lose to the girl who promises more recess, longer lunches, and less homework.

Primary Meanings of essay

an analytic or interpretive literary composition
make an effort or attempt
a tentative attempt
put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to
Full Definitions of essay

n an analytic or interpretive literary composition

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composition, paper, report, theme
an essay (especially one written as an assignment)
an elaborate analytical or explanatory essay or discussion
an essay on a scientific or scholarly topic
an essay expressing a view on the subject of death
term paper
a composition intended to indicate a student's progress during a school term
Type of:
piece of writing, writing, written material
the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect)

v make an effort or attempt

“The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps”
assay, attempt, seek, try
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pick up the gauntlet, take a dare
be dared to do something and attempt it
fight, struggle
make a strenuous or labored effort
give it a try, have a go
make an attempt at something
search blindly or uncertainly
endeavor, endeavour, strive
attempt by employing effort
give it a try, give it a whirl
adventure, chance, gamble, hazard, risk, run a risk, take a chance, take chances
take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome
lay on the line, put on the line, risk
expose to a chance of loss or damage
to exert strenuous effort against opposition
drive, labor, labour, push, tug
strive and make an effort to reach a goal
behave awkwardly; have difficulties
be at pains, take pains
try very hard to do something
to strive with determination
go for broke
risk everything in one big effort
luck it, luck through
act by relying on one's luck
adventure, hazard, jeopardize, stake, venture
put at risk
bell the cat
take a risk; perform a daring act
Type of:
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)

n a tentative attempt

Type of:
attempt, effort, endeavor, endeavour, try
earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something

v put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to

examine, prove, test, try, try out
control, verify
check or regulate (a scientific experiment) by conducting a parallel experiment or comparing with another standard
circulate or discuss tentatively; test the waters with
test something under the conditions under which it will actually be used
Type of:
evaluate, judge, pass judgment
form a critical opinion of

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