Etymology
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Words related to essay

assay (v.)
c. 1300, "to try, endeavor, strive; test the quality of," from Anglo-French assaier, from assai (n.), from Old French assai, variant of essai "trial" (see essay (n.)). Related: Assayed; assaying.
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ex- 
word-forming element, in English meaning usually "out of, from," but also "upwards, completely, deprive of, without," and "former;" from Latin ex "out of, from within; from which time, since; according to; in regard to," from PIE *eghs "out" (source also of Gaulish ex-, Old Irish ess-, Old Church Slavonic izu, Russian iz). In some cases also from Greek cognate ex, ek. PIE *eghs had comparative form *eks-tero and superlative *eks-t(e)r-emo-. Often reduced to e- before -b-, -d-, -g-, consonantal -i-, -l-, -m-, -n-, -v- (as in elude, emerge, evaporate, etc.).
*ag- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to drive, draw out or forth, move."

It forms all or part of: act; action; active; actor; actual; actuary; actuate; agency; agenda; agent; agile; agitation; agony; ambagious; ambassador; ambiguous; anagogical; antagonize; apagoge; assay; Auriga; auto-da-fe; axiom; cache; castigate; coagulate; cogent; cogitation; counteract; demagogue; embassy; epact; essay; exact; exacta; examine; exigency; exiguous; fumigation; glucagon; hypnagogic; interact; intransigent; isagoge; litigate; litigation; mitigate; mystagogue; navigate; objurgate; pedagogue; plutogogue; prodigal; protagonist; purge; react; redact; retroactive; squat; strategy; synagogue; transact; transaction; variegate.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek agein "to lead, guide, drive, carry off," agon "assembly, contest in the games," agōgos "leader," axios "worth, worthy, weighing as much;" Sanskrit ajati "drives," ajirah "moving, active;" Latin actus "a doing; a driving, impulse, a setting in motion; a part in a play;" agere "to set in motion, drive, drive forward," hence "to do, perform," agilis "nimble, quick;" Old Norse aka "to drive;" Middle Irish ag "battle."

examine (v.)

c. 1300, "put (someone) to question in regard to knowledge, competence, or skill, inquire into qualifications or capabilities;" mid-14c., "inspect or survey (something) carefully, scrutinize, view or observe in all aspects with the purpose of forming a correct opinion or judgment," from Old French examiner "interrogate, question, torture," from Latin examinare "to test or try; consider, ponder," literally "to weigh," from examen "a means of weighing or testing," probably ultimately from exigere "demand, require, enforce," literally "to drive or force out," also "to finish, measure," from ex "out" (see ex-) + agere "to set in motion, drive, drive forward; to do, perform" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Legal sense of "question or hear (a witness in court)" is from early 15c. Related: Examined; examining.

assay (n.)
mid-14c., "trial, test of quality, test of character," from Anglo-French assai, ultimately from Late Latin exagium "a weighing" (see essay (n.)). Meaning "trial of purity of a metal" is from late 14c.
essayist (n.)
"writer of essays," c. 1600, from essay (n.) + -ist. French essayiste (19c.) is from English.