c. 1200, of the devil, flesh, etc., "draw or entice to evil or sin, lure (someone) from God's law; be alluring or seductive," from Old French tempter (12c.), from Latin temptare "to feel, try out, attempt to influence, test," a variant of tentare "handle, touch, try, test." The Latin alteration is "explainable only as an ancient error due to some confusion" [Century Dictionary]. From late 14c. as "to provoke, defy" (God, fate, etc.). Related: Tempted; tempting.
popular type of colorblindness test, 1924, from Japanese ophthalmologist Shinobu Ishihara (1879-1963), who devised it in 1917.
1953, in psychological writing, in reference to experiments involving passages from which words have been omitted and are supplied by the test subject, evidently abstracted from the pronunciation of closure.
in reference to solid-fuel rockets (1809) or matches (1839), a reference to English inventor Sir William Congreve (1772-1828), who learned the tactic of rocket warfare while serving in India. He was a descendant of the family of William Congreve the Restoration playwright (1670-1729), being probably his great-great-nephew.
"metal tube rocket launcher," 1942, transferred from the name of a junkyard musical instrument used (c. 1935) as a prop by U.S. comedian Bob Burns (1896-1956); the word is an extension of bazoo, a slang term for "mouth" or "boastful talk" (1877), which is probably from Dutch bazuin "trumpet."
"a model or pattern of special excellence or perfection; a person of supreme merit or excellence," 1540s, from French paragon "a model, pattern of excellence" (15c., Modern French parangon), from Italian paragone, originally "touchstone to test gold" (early 14c.), from paragonare "to test on a touchstone, compare," from Greek parakonan "to sharpen, whet," from para- "on the side" (see para- (1)) + akonē "whetstone" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").
type of volcanic rock, c. 1600, from Late Latin basaltes, a misspelling of Latin basanites "very hard stone," from Greek basanitēs "a species of slate used to test gold," from basanos "touchstone," also "a trial, examination, test whether anything be true," from Egyptian baban "slate," a stone which was used by the Egyptians as a touchstone of gold. According to Beekes, "It came to Greece via Lydia." In Pliny, basaniten by mistake became basalten, which is the origin of basalt.
Any hard, very dark rock would do as a touchstone; the assayer compared the streak left by the alleged gold with that of real gold or baser metals. From the noun in Greek came Greek basanizein "to be put to the test, be examined closely, be cross-examined, be put to torture." The word is not connected with salt. Related: Basaltic.