assay

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English assay (noun) and assayen (verb), from Anglo-Norman assai (noun) and Anglo-Norman assaier (verb), from Old French essai. Doublet of essay.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈæseɪ/, /əˈseɪ/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪ

Noun[edit]

assay (plural assays)

  1. Trial, attempt.
  2. Examination and determination; test.
  3. The qualitative or quantitative chemical analysis of something.
  4. Trial by danger or by affliction; adventure; risk; hardship; state of being tried.
    • (Can we date this quote by Edmund Spenser and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Through many hard assays which did betide.
  5. Tested purity or value.
    • (Can we date this quote by Edmund Spenser and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      With gold and pearl of rich assay.
  6. The act or process of ascertaining the proportion of a particular metal in an ore or alloy; especially, the determination of the proportion of gold or silver in bullion or coin.
  7. The alloy or metal to be assayed.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ure to this entry?)

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

assay (third-person singular simple present assays, present participle assaying, simple past and past participle assayed)

  1. (transitive) To attempt (something). [from 14th c.]
    • c. 1604–1605, William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene vii]:
      To-night let us assay our plot.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 9”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed.
    • 1936, Alfred Edward Housman, More Poems, IV, The Sage to the Young Man, ll.5-8:
      Who seest the stark array / And hast not stayed to count / But singly wilt assay / The many-cannoned mount [].
    • 2011, ‘All-pro, anti-American’, The Economist, 28 May:
      Speaking before a small crowd beneath antique airplanes suspended in the atrium of the State of Iowa Historical Museum, an effortfully cheerful Mr Romney assayed an early version of a stump speech I imagine will become a staple of his campaign for the Republican nomination, once it "officially" begins some time next week in New Hampshire.
  2. (archaic, intransitive) To try, attempt (to do something). [14th-19th c.]
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts IX:
      When Saul cam to Jerusalem he assayde to cople hymsilfe with the apostles, and they wer all afrayde of hym and beleved not that he was a disciple.
  3. (transitive) To analyze or estimate the composition or value of (a metal, ore etc.). [from 15th c.]
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To test the abilities of (someone) in combat; to fight. [15th-17th c.]
  5. To affect.
    • (Can we date this quote by Edmund Spenser and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      when the heart is ill assayed
  6. To try tasting, as food or drink.

Translations[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Borrowed from Anglo-Norman assai, from Late Latin exagium.

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

assay (plural assayes)

  1. Examining; investigation, looking into, research:
    1. Trialling, assaying; the ensuring of quality (usually of a substance, but also of a document)
    2. The trial or testing of one's personality or personal qualities.
    3. An attack (as a trial of one's mettle or ability on the battlefield)
    4. The trialling of comestibles or nourishments (mostly in ceremony)
  2. A try or effort towards something.
  3. (rare) Facts in support in assertion; evidence.
  4. (rare) One's personality; the nature of something or someone.
  5. (rare) A deed, action or doing; an endeavour or business.
Derived terms[edit]
Descendants[edit]
  • English: assay, say
  • Scots: assay, say, sey
References[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Borrowed from Anglo-Norman assaier.

Verb[edit]

assay

  1. Alternative form of assayen