An assay is a breakdown of a material, examining the individual parts that make up the whole. When you assay a situation, you look at all the elements that created the problem in order to come up with a solution.

The word assay comes from the French word essai, which means "trial," an appropriate sense for a word that means to examine for analysis. As a noun, assay means a test or appraisal to determine the components of a substance or object. As a verb, it refers to the act of analyzing, or of conducting that test. It is usually used in chemistry-related fields like metallurgy and pharmaceuticals, but you can also assay a poem.

Primary Meanings of assay

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.
analyze (chemical substances)
make an effort or attempt
Full Definitions of 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.

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ELISA, enzyme-linked-immunosorbent serologic assay
an assay that relies on an enzymatic conversion reaction and is used to detect the presence of specific substances (such as enzymes or viruses or antibodies or bacteria)
an assay that shows specific antigens in tissues by the use of markers that are either fluorescent dyes or enzymes (such as horseradish peroxidase)
diagnostic assay, diagnostic test
an assay conducted for diagnostic purposes
bio-assay, bioassay
appraisal of the biological activity of a substance by testing its effect on an organism and comparing the result with some agreed standard
immunoassay, immunochemical assay
identification of a substance (especially a protein) by its action as an antigen
examination of tissues or liquids from the living body to determine the existence or cause of a disease
cloze procedure, cloze test
a test for diagnosing reading ability; words are deleted from a prose passage and the reader is required to fill in the blanks
faecal occult test, fecal occult test, stool test
a test performed at home in which you collect specimens of your stool that are tested for traces of blood; used to detect colorectal cancers
GI series
diagnostic tests of the alimentary canal; usually involves inserting a contrast medium (such as barium sulfate) and taking an X-ray
glucose tolerance test
test of the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates; used in the diagnosis of hypoglycemia and diabetes mellitus
Pap test, Papanicolaou test, smear test
a method of examining stained cells in a cervical smear for early diagnosis of uterine cancer
PKU test
a test of newborn infants for phenylketonuria
pregnancy test
a physiological test to determine whether a woman is pregnant
Queckenstedt's test
a test to determine whether there is a blockage of the spinal canal
radioactive iodine test
test of thyroid function in which the patient is given an oral dose of radioactive iodine-131
Rubin test
test to determine the patency or occlusion of the Fallopian tubes
skin test
any test to determine immunity or sensitivity to a disease by introducing small amounts on or into the skin
tissue typing
a series of diagnostic tests before an organ transplant to determine whether the tissues of a donor and recipient are compatible
vital capacity
the maximum amount of air that can be exhaled after a maximum inhalation (usually tested with a spirometer); used to determine the condition of lung tissue
Type of:
run, test, trial
the act of testing something

n a substance that is undergoing an analysis of its components

Type of:
a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties

n a written report of the results of an analysis of the composition of some substance

Type of:
report, study, written report
a written document describing the findings of some individual or group

n an appraisal of the state of affairs

“they made an assay of the contents”
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countercheck, double check
something that checks the correctness of a previous check
Apgar score
an assessment of the physical condition of a newborn infant; involves heart rate and muscle tone and respiratory effort and color and reflex responsiveness
paternity test
a test based on blood groups to determine whether a particular man could be the biological father of a particular child; negative results prove he was not the father but positive results show only that he could be
stress test
a test measuring how a system functions when subjected to controlled amounts of stress
treadmill test
a stress test in which the patient walks on a moving treadmill while the heart and breathing rates are monitored
Type of:
appraisal, assessment
the classification of someone or something with respect to its worth

v analyze (chemical substances)

subject to a bio-assay
Type of:
analyse, analyze, canvas, canvass, examine, study
consider in detail and subject to an analysis in order to discover essential features or meaning

v make an effort or attempt

attempt, essay, seek, try
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pick up the gauntlet, take a dare
be dared to do something and attempt it
fight, struggle
make a strenuous or labored effort
give it a try, have a go
make an attempt at something
search blindly or uncertainly
endeavor, endeavour, strive
attempt by employing effort
give it a try, give it a whirl
adventure, chance, gamble, hazard, risk, run a risk, take a chance, take chances
take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome
lay on the line, put on the line, risk
expose to a chance of loss or damage
to exert strenuous effort against opposition
drive, labor, labour, push, tug
strive and make an effort to reach a goal
behave awkwardly; have difficulties
be at pains, take pains
try very hard to do something
to strive with determination
go for broke
risk everything in one big effort
luck it, luck through
act by relying on one's luck
adventure, hazard, jeopardize, stake, venture
put at risk
bell the cat
take a risk; perform a daring act
Type of:
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)

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