Definition of assay
2 : examination and determination as to characteristics (as weight, measure, or quality)
3 : analysis (as of an ore or drug) to determine the presence, absence, or quantity of one or more components; also : a test used in this analysis
Examples of assay in a sentence
<a metallurgist did an assay on the metal and determined it contained nickel>
<the poem about a frustrated man's last assay at greatness>
Origin of assay
Middle English, from Anglo-French assai, essai — more at essay
First Known Use: 14th century
Rhymes with assay
abbé, affray, agley, airplay, airway, aisleway, all-day, allay, allée, Angers, Anhui, archway, array, ashtray, astray, Augier, away, aweigh, backstay, ballet, base pay, bat ray, beignet, belay, beltway, benday, beret, betray, bewray, bidet, bikeway, birthday, Biscay, Bizet, blasé, bobstay, Bombay, Bossuet, bouchée, bouclé, boule, bouquet, Bourget, bourrée, breezeway, Bouvet, Broadway, buffet, byplay, byway, cachet, café, cahier, Cambay, Cathay, causeway, chaîné, chalet, chambray, chassé, child's play, ciré, cliché, congé, convey, co-pay, Corday, corvée, coudé, coupé, crawlway, crochet, croquet, crossway, cube, curé, cy pres, DA, daresay, D-day, death ray, decay, deejay, defray, delay, dengue, dismay, display, distrait, DJ, donnée, doomsday, doorway, dossier, downplay, dragée, driveway, duvet, Earl Grey, embay, épée, essay, estray, Ewe, fair play, fairway, Feuillet, field day, filé, filet, fillet, fireclay, fishway, flambé, flight pay, floodway, flyway, folkway, footway, foray, force play, forebay, foreplay, forestay, formée, forte, fouetté, foul play, Fouquet, four-way, fourchée, foyer, franglais, frappé, freeway, Friday, frieze, fumet, gainsay, Galway, gamay, gangway, gateway, gelée, give way, glacé, godet, gourmet, Green Bay, greenway, guideway, gunplay, hair spray, halfway, hallway, Hannay, harm's way, hatchway, headway, hearsay, Hebei, Hefei, heyday, highway, hold sway, homestay, hooray, horseplay, Hubei, in play, in re, inlay, inveigh, Islay, issei, jackstay, James Bay, jennet, jeté, Jetway, Jolliet, keyway, Kobe, koine, kouprey, lamé, laneway, lay day, leeway, lifeway, Lomé, Lord's day, lwei, lycée, M-day, maguey, mainstay, make hay, Malay, malgré, man-day, Mande, Manet, manqué, margay, massé, match play, maté, May Day, Medway, melee, meze, midday, midway, Midway, Millay, Millet, mislay, misplay, moiré, Monday, Monet, Mornay, name day, Niamey, nisei, noonday, Norway, nosegay, obey, OK, olé, ombré, one-way, osprey, Otway, outlay, outré, outstay, outweigh, oyez, PA, parfait, parkway, parlay, parquet, partway, passé, pâté, pathway, pavé, payday, pearl gray, per se, pince-nez, pipe clay, piqué, piquet, pith ray, PK, plié, plissé, pommée, Pompeii, portray, prepay, projet, pulque, puree, purvey, quale, Quesnay, raceway, Rahway, railway, rappee, red bay, relay, repay, replay, risqué, roadway, Roget, role-play, ropeway, rosé, rosebay, Roubaix, roué, routeway, runway, sachet, saint's day, Salé, sansei, sashay, sauté, screenplay, scrub jay, seaway, Shark Bay, shar-pei, shipway, short-day, sick bay, sick day, sick pay, sideway, skyway, slideway, slipway, sluiceway, soigné, soiree, someday, someway, soothsay, soufflé, speedway, spillway, squeeze play, stairway, sternway, stingray, straightway, strathspey, stroke play, subway, Sunday, survey, sweet bay, swordplay, tea tray, tempeh, thoughtway, thruway, Thursday, tideway, today, Tokay, tollway, Torbay, touché, toupee, trackway, tramway, Tuesday, Twelfth Day, two-way, unlay, unsay, valet, V-day, veejay, vide, visé, Vouvray, walkway, waylay, Wednesday, weekday, white way, windway, wood ray, wordplay, workday
Simple Definition of assay
: to test something (such as a metal or drug) to find out what it contains
Examples of assay in a sentence
They assayed the gold to determine its purity.
<the company assayed a sample of the rock to see if it contained gold in quantities worth mining>
Did You Know?
Usage experts warn against confusing the verbs "assay" and "essay." Some confusion shouldn't be surprising, since the two words look alike and derive from the same root, the Middle French word essai, meaning "test" or "effort" (a root that in turn comes from Late Latin exagium, meaning "act of weighing"). At one time, the two terms were synonyms, sharing the meaning "try" or "attempt," but many modern usage commentators recommend that you differentiate the two words, using "essay" when you mean "to try or attempt" (as in "he will essay a dramatic role for the first time") and "assay" to mean "to test or evaluate" (as in "the blood was assayed to detect the presence of the antibody").
First Known Use of assay
Seen and Heard
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