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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Es·say v. t. [imp. & p. p. Essayed p. pr. & vb. n. Essaying.]
 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.
    What marvel if I thus essay to sing?   --Byron.
    Essaying nothing she can not perform.   --Emerson.
    A danger lest the young enthusiast . . . should essay the impossible.   --J. C. Shairp.
 2. To test the value and purity of (metals); to assay. See Assay. [Obs.]