sample 1 of 2

as in sampling
a number of things selected from a group to stand for the whole based on a sample of the menu items, we decided that this was the best restaurant in town

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in example
one of a group or collection that shows what the whole is like this vase is a sample of the high-quality glassware that the glassblowers can produce

Synonyms & Similar Words


2 of 2


as in to test
to put (something) to a test sampled the soup to see if it tasted good

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How is the word sample distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of sample are case, example, illustration, instance, and specimen. While all these words mean "something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category," 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

When is case a more appropriate choice than sample?

While in some cases nearly identical to sample, 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

When can example be used instead of sample?

The meanings of example and sample largely overlap; however, example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case.

a typical example of bureaucratic waste

When could illustration be used to replace sample?

Although the words illustration and sample have much in common, illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement.

a telling illustration of Murphy's Law

When might instance be a better fit than sample?

In some situations, the words instance and sample are roughly equivalent. However, instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain.

an instance of history repeating itself

In what contexts can specimen take the place of sample?

The synonyms specimen and sample are sometimes interchangeable, but specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available.

one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art

Thesaurus Entries Near sample

Cite this Entry

“Sample.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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