Etymology
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sample (n.)

c. 1300, saumple, "something which confirms a proposition or statement, an instance serving as an illustration" (a sense now obsolete in this word), from Anglo-French saumple, which is a shortening of Old French essample, from Latin exemplum "a sample," or a shortening of Middle English ensaumple (see example (n.)).

The meaning "small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred" (later usually in a commercial sense) is recorded from early 15c. The sense of "specimen for scientific sampling" is by 1878; the sense in statistics, "a portion drawn from a population for study to make statistical estimates of the whole," is by 1903. As an adjective from 1820.

The word also was used in Middle English in many of the senses now only found in example, such as "an incident that teaches a lesson; a model of action or conduct to be imitated."

sample (v.)

1767, "test by taking a sample, select a specimen of," from sample (n.). As "present samples or specimens of" by 1870. Earlier it had meant "to be a match for" (1590s); "set an example" (c. 1600), sense now obsolete in this word. Related: Sampled; sampling.

updated on December 06, 2021

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Definitions of sample from WordNet
1
sample (n.)
a small part of something intended as representative of the whole;
sample (n.)
items selected at random from a population and used to test hypotheses about the population;
Synonyms: sample distribution / sampling
sample (n.)
all or part of a natural object that is collected and preserved as an example of its class;
2
sample (v.)
take a sample of;
Synonyms: try / try out / taste
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.