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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

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 Webster] What marvel if I thus essay to sing? --Byron. [1913 Webster] Essaying nothing she can not perform. --Emerson. [1913 Webster] A danger lest the young enthusiast . . . should essay the impossible. --J. C. Shairp. [1913 Webster] 2. To test the value and purity of (metals); to assay. See Assay. [Obs.] --Locke. [1913 Webster]