Word of the Day : May 23, 2011

assay

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verb a-SAY

Definition

1 : try, attempt

2 a : to analyze (as an ore) for one or more specific components

b : to prove to be of a particular nature by means of analysis

3 : to judge the worth of : estimate

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").


Examples

A certified laboratory will assay the samples of gold and silver to determine their levels of purity.

"Numerous surface samples at the Fourth of July property assayed over 10 ppm gold with one sample assaying over 16 ppm gold." -- From a report in ENP Newswire, March 25, 2011



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