\ \ [15] Essay and assay [14] are fundamentally the same word, and only began to diverge in the 15th century. Both come via Old French assaier from Vulgar Latin *exagiāreweigh out’, a verb derived from late Latin exagiumweighing’; this in turn was formed from the Latin verb exigereweigh’ (source of English exact and examine). Accordingly, both originally had underlying connotations of ‘testing by weighing’. But while these have become more concrete in assayanalyse precious metals’, essay has, under the influence of French essayer, gone down the more metaphorical route from ‘test’ to ‘try’. The verb now survives only in fairly formal use, but the noun is much more frequent, owing to its application to a ‘short nonfictional literary composition’. It was first used thus in English by Francis Bacon in 1597 as the title of a collection of such pieces, and it is generally assumed that he borrowed the idea from the Essais of Montaigne, published in 1580.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • essay — ESSAY. s. m. Espreuve qu on fait de quelque chose. Faire essay, un essay. faire l essay de la monnoye. faire l essay d une machine. cette drogue est trop violente, il est dangereux d en faire l essay. donner à l essay. prendre à l essay. faire l… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • essay — Essay, m. acut. Est une tentatoire, qui est espreuve de ce qui est à faire, Periculi factio, Tentamentum, L apprenty fait son essay, Suae industriae tyro facit periculum, Selon ce on dit, Faire son coup d essay, Aliqua in re quid de suo ingenio,… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Essay — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Essay País …   Wikipedia Español

  • Essay — Es say, n.; pl. {Essays}. [F. essai, fr. L. exagium a weighing, weight, balance; ex out + agere to drive, do; cf. examen, exagmen, a means of weighing, a weighing, the tongue of a balance, exigere to drive out, examine, weigh, Gr. exa gion a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Essay — Smn Abhandlung, Aufsatz erw. fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus ne. essay, dieses aus afrz. essai, eigentlich Probe, Versuch , aus l. exagium n. das Wägen , einer postverbalen Ableitung von l. exigere (exāctum) abwägen, beurteilen , zu l.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • essay — vb endeavor, strive, struggle, *attempt, try Analogous words: work, labor, toil, travail (see corresponding nouns at WORK) essay n 1 endeavor, striving, struggle, attempt, try (see under ATTEMPT vb) Analogous words: *effort, exertion, trouble,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Essay — Es*say , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Essayed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Essaying}.] [F. essayer. See {Essay}, n.] 1. To exert one s power or faculties upon; to make an effort to perform; to attempt; to endeavor; to make experiment or trial of; to try. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • essay — [n1] written discourse article, composition, discussion, disquisition, dissertation, explication, exposition, manuscript, paper, piece, study, theme, thesis, tract, treatise; concept 271 essay [n2] try, attempt aim, bid, dry run*, effort,… …   New thesaurus

  • Essay — Essay,derod.das:⇨Abhandlung(1) Essay→Aufsatz …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

  • Essay — »Abhandlung, die eine literarische oder wissenschaftliche Frage in knapper und anspruchsvoller Form behandelt«: Das Fremdwort wurde in der 2. Hälfte des 19. Jh.s aus gleichbed. engl. essay entlehnt, das aus frz. essai »Versuch, Abhandlung« stammt …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Essay — (engl., spr. Essäh), so v.w. Essai; bes. Essays, in der Englischen Literatur kürzere Aufsätze, worin die Ergebnisse der philosophischen Doctrinen popularisirt u. zur Belehrung u. Geschmackbildung in Zeit u. Wochenschriften mitgetheilt werden. Die …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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