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See also: SAMPLE



From Middle English saumple, sample, asaumple, from Old French essample (example), from Latin exemplum. Doublet of example.



sample (plural samples)

  1. A part or snippet of something taken or presented for inspection, or shown as evidence of the quality of the whole; a specimen
    a blood sample
  2. (statistics) A subset of a population selected for measurement, observation or questioning, to provide statistical information about the population.
    " is possible it [the Anglo-Saxon race] might stand second to the Scandinavian countries [in average height] if a fair sample of their population were obtained." Francis Galton et al. (1883). Final Report of the Anthropometric Committee, Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, p. 269.
  3. (cooking) A small quantity of food for tasting, typically given away for free.
  4. (business) A small piece of some goods, for determining quality, colour, etc., typically given away for free.
  5. (music) Gratuitous borrowing of easily recognised phases (or moments) from other music (or movies) in a recording.
    • 1 December 2016, Peter Bradshaw writing in The Guardian Blue Velvet review – still inventive, sexy and bizarre
      Jeffrey conceives a fascination with nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) who sings Blue Velvet, while her abusive, misogynist sugar-daddy Frank (Dennis Hopper) watches, caressing a sample of this same material.
  6. (obsolete) Example; pattern.
    • 'c. 1611, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
      a sample to the youngest
    • 1600, Edward Fairfax translating Tasso, Godfrey of Bulloigne, Or, The Recovery of Jerusalem
      Thus he concludes, and every hardy knight / His sample follow'd and his brethren twain.





sample (third-person singular simple present samples, present participle sampling, simple past and past participle sampled)

  1. (transitive) To take or to test a sample or samples of
    • 1895, Frank Richard Stockton, The adventures of Captain Horn Chapter 43
      Mok was enjoying himself very much. It was not often that he had such an opportunity to sample the delights of Paris. His young master, Ralph, had given him strict orders never to go out at night, or in his leisure hours, unless accompanied by Cheditafa.
    • 1893, Mark Twain, The Million Pound Bank Note Chapter 1
      They had just finished their breakfast, and the sight of the remains of it almost overpowered me. I could hardly keep my wits together in the presence of that food, but as I was not asked to sample it, I had to bear my trouble as best I could.
    • 2008, Mark Fitzgerald, Photoshop CS3 Restoration and Retouching Bible, →ISBN, page 148:
      The Healing brush is similar to the Clone Stamp in that information is sampled by Alt-clicking and then painted into other parts of the image. The big difference is that the Healing brush attempts to make the sampled data match the lighting and shading of the area to which it's being applied.
    • 2005, Ted LoCascio, InDesign CS2 at Your Fingertips, →ISBN, page 46:
      The Eyedropper tool allows you to sample colors from anywhere in your open InDesign documents (yes, even from placed images!) You can add a sampled color to the Swatches palette and then apply it to the fill or stroke of any frame, shape, path, line, or table.
  2. (transitive, signal processing) To reduce a continuous signal (such as a sound wave) to a discrete signal.
  3. (music, transitive) To reuse a portion of (an existing sound recording) in a new piece of music.
    • 2011, Kembrew McLeod & ‎Peter DiCola, Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling, →ISBN, page 130:
      To address this novel legal quandary, one legal treatise on copyright has developed the concept of fragmented literal similarity, a method of determining whether a sample-based work is substantially similar to the source it sampled. The name reflects the exactness of the similarity between the snippet of a track that is sampled and the sampled copy of that snippet.
  4. (transitive, computer graphics) To make or show something similar to a sample.
    • 2006, Translation of Digital Process to Architectural Program, →ISBN, page 6:
      It means that a larger image field can be sampled from a lower resolution copy without much loss in comparative data, only the number of data points to be manipulated.





sample m (plural samples)

  1. (music) sample