Meaning of “essay” in the English Dictionary

"essay" in British English

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essaynoun [ C ]

uk /ˈes.eɪ/ us /ˈes.eɪ/ UK US paper

B1 a short piece of writing on a particular subject, especially one done by students as part of the work for a course:

For homework I want you to write an essay on endangered species.
Mr Jones thought my history essay was terrific.

More examples

  • I want to finish off this essay before I go to bed.
  • His essay was full of spelling errors.
  • Have you given that essay in yet?
  • Have you handed in your history essay yet?
  • I'd like to discuss the first point in your essay.

essayverb [ T ]

uk /eˈseɪ/ us /eˈseɪ/ old-fashioned

(Definition of “essay” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"essay" in American English

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essaynoun [ C ]

us /ˈes·eɪ/

literature a short piece of writing on a particular subject, often expressing personal views

In a school test, an essay is a written answer that includes information and discussion, usually to test how well the student understands the subject.

(Definition of “essay” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)