If your boss tells you not to test her patience, she means don't push her today, because she might just snap.

Surely you're familiar with vocabulary tests? In this case, someone is giving you difficult questions to see how much you know. Test more generally means "trial." If you test a soap on your skin, you use it on one small patch, to see if you'll have an allergic reaction. A drug test looks for the presence of drugs in your system. A difficult time in life is sometimes called "a test," because it's testing your strength to persevere.

Definitions of test
  1. noun
    any standardized procedure for measuring sensitivity or memory or intelligence or aptitude or personality etc
    “the test was standardized on a large sample of students”
    synonyms: mental test, mental testing, psychometric test
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    IQ test, intelligence test
    a psychometric test of intelligence
    personality test
    any test that is intended to assess personality
    one of a battery of related tests
    Stanford-Binet test
    revision of the Binet-Simon Scale
    Binet-Simon Scale
    the first intelligence test
    projective device, projective technique, projective test
    any personality test designed to yield information about someone's personality on the basis of their unrestricted response to ambiguous objects or situations
    personality assessment, personality inventory
    a questionnaire that is supposed to yield a description of a person's personality traits
    type of:
    mental measurement
    a generic term used to cover any application of measurement techniques to the quantification of mental functions
  2. noun
    a set of questions or exercises evaluating skill or knowledge
    “when the test was stolen the professor had to make a new set of questions”
    synonyms: exam, examination
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    bar exam, bar examination
    an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction
    comp, comprehensive, comprehensive examination
    an intensive examination testing a student's proficiency in some special field of knowledge
    entrance exam, entrance examination
    examination to determine a candidate's preparation for a course of studies
    final, final exam, final examination
    an examination administered at the end of an academic term
    litmus test
    a test that relies on a single indicator
    midterm, midterm exam, midterm examination
    an examination administered in the middle of an academic term
    oral, oral exam, oral examination, viva, viva voce
    an examination conducted by spoken communication
    prelim, preliminary exam, preliminary examination
    an examination taken by graduate students to determine their fitness to continue
    an examination consisting of a few short questions
    exam paper, examination paper, question sheet, test paper
    a written examination
    final honors degree examinations at Cambridge University
    pop quiz
    a quiz given without prior warning
    type of:
    communicating, communication
    the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information
  3. noun
    the act of undergoing testing
    “he survived the great test of battle”
    synonyms: trial
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    type of:
    attempt, effort, endeavor, endeavour, try
    earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something
  4. noun
    the act of testing something
    synonyms: run, trial
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    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.
    clinical test, clinical trial
    a rigorously controlled test of a new drug or a new invasive medical device on human subjects; in the United States it is conducted under the direction of the FDA before being made available for general clinical use
    double blind
    a test procedure in which the identity of those receiving the intervention is concealed from both the administrators and the subjects until after the test is completed; designed to reduce or eliminate bias in the results
    preclinical phase, preclinical test, preclinical trial
    a laboratory test of a new drug or a new invasive medical device on animal subjects; conducted to gather evidence justifying a clinical trial
    audition, tryout
    a test of the suitability of a performer
    field trial
    a test of young hunting dogs to determine their skill in pointing and retrieving
    fitting, try-on, trying on
    putting clothes on to see whether they fit
    MOT, MOT test, Ministry of Transportation test
    a compulsory annual test of older motor vehicles for safety and exhaust fumes
    pilot program, pilot project
    activity planned as a test or trial
    Snellen test
    a test of visual acuity using a Snellen chart
    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)
    phase I, phase I clinical trial
    a clinical trial on a few persons to determine the safety of a new drug or invasive medical device; for drugs, dosage or toxicity limits should be obtained
    phase II, phase II clinical trial
    a clinical trial on more persons than in phase I; intended to evaluate the efficacy of a treatment for the condition it is intended to treat; possible side effects are monitored
    phase III, phase III clinical trial
    a large clinical trial of a treatment or drug that in phase I and phase II has been shown to be efficacious with tolerable side effects; after successful conclusion of these clinical trials it will receive formal approval from the FDA
    phase IV, phase IV clinical trial
    sometimes the FDA approves a drug for general use but requires the manufacturer to continue to monitor its effects; during this phase the drug may be tried on slightly different patient populations than those studied in earlier trials
    screen test
    a filmed audition of an actor or actress
    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
    type of:
    attempt, effort, endeavor, endeavour, try
    earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something
  5. noun
    trying something to find out about it
    synonyms: trial, trial run, tryout
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    field test, field trial
    a test of the performance of some new product under the conditions in which it will be used
    alpha test
    (computer science) a first test of an experimental product (such as computer software) carried out by the developer
    beta test
    (computer science) a second test of an experimental product (such as computer software) carried out by an outside organization
    road test
    a test to insure that a vehicle is roadworthy
    trial balloon
    a test of public opinion
    test drive
    test of the roadworthiness of a vehicle one is considering buying
    type of:
    experiment, experimentation
    the testing of an idea
  6. verb
    examine someone's knowledge of something
    “The teacher tests us every week”
    synonyms: quiz
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    type of:
    question closely
  7. verb
    put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to
    Test this recipe”
    synonyms: essay, examine, prove, try, try out
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    control, verify
    check or regulate (a scientific experiment) by conducting a parallel experiment or comparing with another standard
    circulate or discuss tentatively; test the waters with
    test something under the conditions under which it will actually be used
    type of:
    evaluate, judge, pass judgment
    form a critical opinion of
  8. verb
    undergo a test
    “She doesn't test well”
    examine someone's knowledge of something
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    type of:
    submit, take
    accept or undergo, often unwillingly
  9. verb
    achieve a certain score or rating on a test
    “She tested high on the LSAT and was admitted to all the good law schools”
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    type of:
    get a certain number or letter indicating quality or performance
  10. verb
    determine the presence or properties of (a substance)
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    type of:
    ascertain, check, determine, find out, learn, see, watch
    find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort
  11. verb
    test or examine for the presence of disease or infection
    synonyms: screen
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    type of:
    make an examination or investigation
  12. verb
    show a certain characteristic when tested
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  13. noun
    a hard outer covering as of some amoebas and sea urchins
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    type of:
    cover, covering, natural covering
    a natural object that covers or envelops
Commonly confused words

Would You Prefer a "Quiz," "Diagnostic," "Test," or "Evaluation"?

The answer couldn't be more clear, and a quick look at the blurbs for these words on the website explains why.

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