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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

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.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

assay (plural assays)

  1. Trial, attempt.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      I am withal persuaded that it may prove much more easy in the assay than it now seems at distance.
  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.
  5. Tested purity or value.
  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?)

TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

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

  1. (transitive) To attempt (something). [from 14th c.]
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      To-night let us assay our plot.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      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.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xviij, in Le Morte Darthur, book IV:
      I wold not by my wille that ony of vs were matched with hym / Nay said sir Gawayne not so / it were shame to vs were he not assayed were he neuer soo good a knyghte
    • 1977, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Penguin Classics, p.351:
      The marquis, in obsession for his wife, / Longed to expose her constancy to test. / He could not throw the thought away or rest, / Having a marvellous passion to assay her; / Needless, God knows, to frighten and dismay her, / He had assayed her faith enough before / And ever found her good; what was the need / Of heaping trial on her, more and more?
  5. To affect.
  6. To try tasting, as food or drink.

TranslationsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit

AnagramsEdit


Middle EnglishEdit

Etymology 1Edit

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

Alternative formsEdit

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

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 termsEdit
DescendantsEdit
ReferencesEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Borrowed from Anglo-Norman assaier.

VerbEdit

assay

  1. Alternative form of assayen