Essay is derived from the French word essayer, which means “to attempt,” or “to try.” An essay is a short form of literary composition based on a single subject matter, and often gives the personal opinion of the author. A famous English essayist, Aldous Huxley defines essays as, “a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything.” The Oxford Dictionary describes it as “a short piece of writing on a particular subject.” In simple words, we can define it as a scholarly work in writing that provides the author’s personal argument.
In this example, the author is telling an autobiography of a kettle, and describes the whole story in chronological order. The author has described the kettle as a human being, and allows readers to feel, as he has felt.
14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘essay.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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Origin of essay
“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”
a tentative attempt