as·say (ăsā′, ă-sā)
a. Qualitative or quantitative analysis of a metal or ore to determine its components.
b. A substance to be so analyzed.
c. The result of such an analysis.
2. A bioassay.
3. An analysis or examination.
4. Archaic An attempt; an essay.
v. (ă-sā, ăsā′) as·sayed, as·say·ing, as·says
a. To subject (a metal, for example) to chemical analysis so as to determine the strength or quality of its components.
b. To bioassay.
2. To examine by trial or experiment; put to a test: assay one's ability to speak Chinese.
3. To evaluate; assess: assayed the situation before taking action.
4. To attempt; try: "Singers of every race and nationality have by now assayed the role" (Barry Singer).
To be shown by analysis to contain a certain proportion of usually precious metal.
[Middle English, from Old French essai, assai; see ESSAY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.