[sam-puhl, sahm-]
a small part of anything or one of a number, intended to show the quality, style, or nature of the whole; specimen.
Statistics. a subset of a population: to study a sample of the total population.
a sound of short duration, as a musical tone or a drumbeat, digitally stored in a synthesizer for playback.
serving as a specimen: a sample piece of cloth.
verb (used with object), sampled, sampling.
to take a sample or samples of; test or judge by a sample.

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French essample. See example

intersample, noun, adjective, verb (used with object), intersampled, intersampling.
missample, verb, missampled, missampling.
resample, verb (used with object), resampled, resampling.

1. See example. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sample (ˈsɑːmpəl)
1.  a.  a small part of anything, intended as representative of the whole; specimen
 b.  (as modifier): a sample bottle
2.  statistics Also called: sampling
 a.  See also matched sample a set of individuals or items selected from a population for analysis to yield estimates of, or to test hypotheses about, parameters of the whole population. A biased sample is one in which the items selected share some property which influences their distribution, while a random sample is devised to avoid any such interference so that its distribution is affected only by, and so can be held to represent, that of the whole population
 b.  (as modifier): sample distribution
3.  (tr) to take a sample or samples of
4.  music
 a.  to take a short extract from (one record) and mix it into a different backing track
 b.  to record (a sound) and feed it into a computerized synthesizer so that it can be reproduced at any pitch
[C13: from Old French essample, from Latin exemplumexample]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "something which confirms a proposition or statement," from Anglo-Fr. saumple, aphetic of O.Fr. essample, from L. exemplum "a sample" (see example). Meaning "small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred" (usually in
a commercial sense) is recorded from 1428; sense of "specimen for scientific sampling" is from 1878. The verb meaning "to test by taking a sample" is from 1767.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

sample definition

In statistics, a group drawn from a larger population and used to estimate the characteristics of the whole population.

Note: Opinion polls use small groups of people, often selected at random, as a sample of the opinions of the general public.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Computing Dictionary

sample definition

digital signal processing
The result of measuring the amplitude of an analog signal at a specified time. In digital signal processing a sample is a signed or unsigned number and the number of samples per second is called the sample rate.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
That's a huge sample size for usability testing, so the distributed model makes
The sample should be collected during the acute phase of the infection, which
  is the period in which you are having diarrhea.
These should be fairly quick to write and will become the sample chapters for
  your final proposal.
In music, think of the legal actions taken against artists who blend and sample
  multiple songs.
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