"essay" in the noun sense
an analytic or interpretive literary composition
a tentative attempt
"essay" in the verb sense
1. try, seek, attempt, essay, assay
make an effort or attempt
"He tried to shake off his fears"
"The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"
"The police attempted to stop the thief"
"He sought to improve himself"
"She always seeks to do good in the world"
2. test, prove, try, try out, examine, essay
put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to
"This approach has been tried with good results"
"Test this recipe"
Source: WordNet® (An amazing lexical database of English)
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