1

assay

play
verb as·say \a-ˈsā, ˈa-ˌsā\

Definition of assay

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to analyze (something, such as an ore) for one or more specific components assayed the gold to determine its purityb :  to judge the worth of :  estimate assay the results of the new changes

  3. 2 :  try, attempt Again Israel assayed to reply, but could not. — Herman Melville

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to prove up in an assay

assayer

noun

assay was our Word of the Day on 07/10/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of assay in a Sentence

  1. a metallurgist did an assay on the metal and determined it contained nickel

  2. the poem about a frustrated man's last assay at greatness

Recent Examples of assay from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of assay

see 2assay

Other Metals and Metallurgy Terms


2

assay

play
noun as·say \ˈa-ˌsā, a-ˈsā\

Definition of assay

  1. 1 :  examination and determination as to characteristics (such as weight, measure, or quality)

  2. 2 :  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

  3. 3 :  a substance to be assayed; also :  the tabulated result of assaying

  4. 4 archaic :  trial, attempt

Examples of assay in a Sentence

  1. They assayed the gold to determine its purity.

  2. the company assayed a sample of the rock to see if it contained gold in quantities worth mining

Recent Examples of assay from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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").

Origin and Etymology of assay

Middle English, from Anglo-French assai, essai — more at essay


ASSAY Defined for English Language Learners

assay

play
verb

Definition of assay for English Language Learners

  • : to test something (such as a metal or drug) to find out what it contains


Medical Dictionary

1

assay

play play
noun as·say \ˈas-ˌā, a-ˈsā\

Medical Definition of assay

  1. 1:  examination and determination as to characteristics (as weight, measure, or quality)

  2. 2:  analysis (as of a drug) to determine the presence, absence, or quantity of one or more components—compare bioassay

  3. 3:  a substance to be assayed; also :  the tabulated result of assaying


2

assay

play play
transitive verb as·say \a-ˈsā, ˈas-ˌā\

Medical Definition of assay

  1. :  to analyze (an impure substance or mixture) for one or more specific components the sample was assayed for drug content



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