A sample is a small part of something that either represents a bigger whole or is designed to let you try something out. You might ask to try a sample of an exotic ice cream flavor before committing to buying a whole cone.

Sample comes from the Old French essample, meaning "example." In social science experiments, researchers try to find a sample of people to study that is representative of the intended population as a whole. At the grocery store, you might be given a sample of peanut butter on a little cracker to entice you to buy it. In that case, you are given the chance to sample, or taste, the product.

Definitions of sample
  1. noun
    a small part of something intended as representative of the whole
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    a test sample of some substance
    cross section
    a sample meant to be representative of a whole population
    grab sample
    a single sample or measurement taken at a specific time or over as short a period as feasible
    random sample
    a sample grabbed at random
    a small amount (especially of food or wine)
    type of:
    example, illustration, instance, representative
    an item of information that is typical of a class or group
  2. noun
    all or part of a natural object that is collected and preserved as an example of its class
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    a bit of tissue or blood or urine that is taken for diagnostic purposes
    a cylindrical sample of soil or rock obtained with a hollow drill
    cytologic specimen
    a specimen used for cytologic examination and diagnosis
    type of:
    natural object
    an object occurring naturally; not made by man
  3. noun
    items selected at random from a population and used to test hypotheses about the population
    synonyms: sample distribution, sampling
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    acceptance sampling
    a statistical procedure for accepting or rejecting a batch of merchandise or documents; involves determining the maximum number of defects discovered in a sample before the entire batch is rejected
    random sample
    a sample in which every element in the population has an equal chance of being selected
    proportional sample, representative sample, stratified sample
    the population is divided into strata and a random sample is taken from each stratum
    type of:
    distribution, statistical distribution
    (statistics) an arrangement of values of a variable showing their observed or theoretical frequency of occurrence
  4. verb
    take a sample of
    Sample the regional dishes”
    synonyms: taste, try, try out
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    taste with relish
    type of:
    consume, have, ingest, take, take in
    serve oneself to, or consume regularly
Word Family

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