sam·​ple | \ ˈsam-pəl How to pronounce sample (audio) \

Definition of sample

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a representative part or a single item from a larger whole or group especially when presented for inspection or shown as evidence of quality : specimen
2 : a finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole
3 : an excerpt from a recording (such as a popular song by another performer) that is used in a musical composition, recording, or performance … had to substantially rewrite "Sometimes I Miss You … " when he was denied permission to use a Michael Jackson sample— Jon Young


sampled; sampling\ ˈsam-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce sample (audio) \

Definition of sample (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to take a sample of or from especially : to judge the quality of by a sample : test sampled his output for defects sample a wine
2 : to use a segment of (recorded music, sounds, or dialogue from another source) as part of one's own musical composition or recording A Josh Wink record takes a series of sampled noises, then twists and warps them through a barrage of sound processors …— Frank Broughton : to use a sample (see sample entry 1 sense 3) from (another recording or performer) … claims Carey sampled his hit "I Want to Thank You" on her 1992 song "Make It Happen."— Jancee Dunn



Definition of sample (Entry 3 of 3)

: serving as an illustration or example sample questions

Synonyms for sample

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for sample


instance, case, illustration, example, sample, specimen mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category. instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain. an instance of history repeating itself case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with. a case of mistaken identity illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement. a telling illustration of Murphy's Law example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case. a typical example of bureaucratic waste sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities. show us a sample of your work specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available. one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

Examples of sample in a Sentence

Noun We would like to see a sample of your work. I tasted a sample of the new cereal. Free samples were handed out at the store. The sample included 96 women over the age of 40. A random sample of people filled out the survey. We looked at a representative sample of public schools. Verb She sampled everything the resort had to offer, from golfing to yoga. A low percentage of the women sampled said that they smoked during pregnancy. Five of the 20 schools sampled did not meet the standards. Adjective The teacher handed out a sample essay. Here are some sample questions for the test. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On television, Klarman was asked if his five-year pace of winning the Preakness — based on a sample size of two — could become part of his long-term plan. Bryce Millercolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 May 2022 Compare Lole's 2020 stats — a small sample size, to be sure — to how Louisville's returning defensive linemen performed during the 2021 season, and the results are jarring. Brooks Holton, The Courier-Journal, 20 May 2022 First, the data is based on a limited sample size from one school year. Zack Friedman, Forbes, 18 May 2022 Add to that all of the problems the Jazz had before then with the 5-out Rockets and 5-out Warriors, and, well, the sample size is actually quite large at this point. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 May 2022 Oftentimes, doctor’s offices have sample size formulas for patients. Layla Mcmurtrie, Detroit Free Press, 17 May 2022 His success, albeit in an extremely limited sample size, is supported by the underlying data, including an average exit velocity of 94.3 mph, six ticks above the MLB average. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 13 May 2022 More tenuously, both in terms of sample size and statistical significance, Democratic presidents may have also benefited from stronger growth abroad. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 3 May 2022 Yet those elements, along with brutally cold conditions in what’s typically baseball’s most challenging month can be more easily explained away, possibly the result of a smaller sample size. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 2 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Everything about it feels like a 2022 hit, from the Tems sample to the melancholy-but-not-morose vibe to the overall efficiency, packing a whole lot of its stars into a just-over-three-minute runtime. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 10 May 2022 The tours, new educational beer tours that take folks around to local breweries to see the back end of the brewing process, sample beers and pair them with food. Stefene Russell, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 May 2022 About 50 people attended and 25 recipes were prepared for guests to sample along with the French 75 cocktail featured in the cookbook. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 May 2022 The adjoining warehouse, at 3553, is in the process of being transformed into a private, soundproof beer-tasting room where visitors may sample beer pairings with chocolate and light barroom bites. Phillip Valys, Sun Sentinel, 5 May 2022 On May 19, Islands in the Stream: Exploring the Influence of Coastal Vineyards Around the World will take you from Sardinia to South Africa, to learn and sample the quality and variety of coastal wines available and the vintners producing them. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 May 2022 Each of the famed beat-makers produced half of the album’s songs, bringing their creative signatures to the face-off—Kanye displays sample chops that mimic classic soul, and Pharrell calibrates off-kilter, earwormy riffs that drone and buzz. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2022 In 2019, the state police then uploaded the crime scene sample into a genealogy website, which spat out hundreds of possibilities. Christine Pelisek,, 22 Apr. 2022 Take a moment to smell the flowers—and to sample our guide to the season’s best books about baseball, food, gardening and more. Wsj Books Staff, WSJ, 12 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Visitors will have the chance to see the temple, sample Indian meals, attend a Saturday classical dance performance and participate in other events. Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune, 7 June 2021 Here’s a sample Mediterranean diet meal plan for a day, which fits a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet and is around the range of those flexible Mediterranean diet macros mentioned above. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 22 Oct. 2020 Even university researchers have been taking an interest in the matter — consider this Cornell University project to re-sample photos of renowned landmarks into 4-D glory. Payal Dhar, Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2020 His growing children dabble in journalism and sample European culture. Sara Georgini, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Jan. 2020 Verizon's Young went on to add: Sites such as utilize limited crowdsourced data drawn from sample social posts which are often statistically insignificant or factually incorrect. Josh Rivera, USA TODAY, 15 June 2020 Shi is planning a national project to systematically sample viruses in bat caves—with much greater scope and intensity than her team’s previous attempts. Jane Qiu, Scientific American, 11 Mar. 2020 Other events throughout the day include sample German lessons, fairy tale movie screenings and a dance party to close the night. Washington Post, 4 Nov. 2019 This is the second time each pitcher is facing the opposing team so sample sizes are too small to gauge splits. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, 13 Sep. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of sample


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1767, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1820, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sample


Middle English, from Anglo-French sample, essample, from Latin exemplum — more at example

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Time Traveler for sample

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The first known use of sample was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sample.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sample


sam·​ple | \ ˈsam-pəl How to pronounce sample (audio) \

Kids Definition of sample

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a part or piece that shows the quality or character of the whole A water sample was taken to test for purity.
2 : a small amount of something that is given to people to try


sampled; sampling

Kids Definition of sample (Entry 2 of 2)

: to judge the quality or character of by trying or examining a small part or amount We sampled the store's cheese.


sam·​ple | \ ˈsam-pəl How to pronounce sample (audio) \

Medical Definition of sample

1 : a representative part or a single item from a larger whole or group especially when presented for inspection or shown as evidence of quality : specimen a blood sample
2 : a finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole

More from Merriam-Webster on sample

Nglish: Translation of sample for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sample for Arabic Speakers


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