Etymology
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assay (v.)

c. 1300, "to try, endeavor, strive; test the quality of," from Anglo-French assaier, from assai (n.), from Old French assai, variant of essai "trial" (see essay (n.)). Related: Assayed; assaying.

assay (n.)

mid-14c., "trial, test of quality, test of character," from Anglo-French assai, ultimately from Late Latin exagium "a weighing" (see essay (n.)). Meaning "trial of purity of a metal" is from late 14c.

updated on February 20, 2017

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Definitions of assay from WordNet
1
assay (n.)
an appraisal of the state of affairs;
they made an assay of the contents
Synonyms: check
assay (n.)
a substance that is undergoing an analysis of its components;
assay (n.)
a written report of the results of an analysis of the composition of some substance;
assay (n.)
a quantitative or qualitative test of a substance (especially an ore or a drug) to determine its components; frequently used to test for the presence or concentration of infectious agents or antibodies etc.;
2
assay (v.)
analyze (chemical substances);
assay (v.)
make an effort or attempt;
Synonyms: try / seek / attempt / essay
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.