"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[test] /tɛst/
the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.
the trial of the quality of something:
to put to the test.
a particular process or method for trying or assessing.
a set of questions, problems, or the like, used as a means of evaluating the abilities, aptitudes, skills, or performance of an individual or group; examination.
Psychology. a set of standardized questions, problems, or tasks designed to elicit responses for use in measuring the traits, capacities, or achievements of an individual.
  1. the process of identifying or detecting the presence of a constituent of a substance, or of determining the nature of a substance, commonly by the addition of a reagent.
  2. the reagent used.
  3. an indication or evidence of the presence of a constituent, or of the nature of a substance, obtained by such means.
an oath or other confirmation of one's loyalty, religious beliefs, etc.
British. a cupel for refining or assaying metals.
verb (used with object)
to subject to a test of any kind; try.
Chemistry. to subject to a chemical test.
Metallurgy. to assay or refine in a cupel.
verb (used without object)
to undergo a test or trial; try out.
to perform on a test:
People test better in a relaxed environment.
to conduct a test:
to test for diabetes.
Origin of test1
1350-1400; Middle English: cupel < Middle French < Latin testū, testum earthen pot; akin to test2
Related forms
testable, adjective
testability, noun
testingly, adverb
nontestable, adjective
nontesting, adjective
self-testing, adjective
untestable, adjective
untested, adjective
well-tested, adjective
1. proof, assay. See trial. 9. assay, prove, examine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for testing
  • Spotlights are on them as they begin testing batches of all kinds of cheeses.
  • He discusses the various types of poetry, testing their capacities for teaching and moving the reader.
  • testing shows that these dreams have suffered by distortion to an exceptionally high degree.
  • Experience is the best guide for testing temperature of oven.
  • Scientists are testing drugs that can sharpen our brains.
  • Yet when the time of testing came for him and his contemporaries, they did not flinch.
  • We're working to commercialize a system for testing water for potability.
  • He has spent a good part of his life collecting bird droppings and testing them for signs of influenza.
  • She and her colleagues have been testing the bonobos' ability to express their thoughts vocally, rather than by pushing buttons.
  • My favorite part of magazines had always been the smelling and testing of perfumes.
British Dictionary definitions for testing


to ascertain (the worth, capability, or endurance) of (a person or thing) by subjection to certain examinations; try
(often foll by for) to carry out an examination on (a substance, material, or system) by applying some chemical or physical procedure designed to indicate the presence of a substance or the possession of a property: to test food for arsenic, to test for magnetization
(intransitive) to achieve a specified result in a test: a quarter of the patients at the clinic tested positive for the AIDS virus
(transitive) to put under severe strain: the long delay tested my patience
test the water, to make an exploratory or initial approach; sound out
a method, practice, or examination designed to test a person or thing
a series of questions or problems designed to test a specific skill or knowledge: an intelligence test
a standard of judgment; criterion
  1. a chemical reaction or physical procedure for testing a substance, material, etc
  2. a chemical reagent used in such a procedure: litmus is a test for acids
  3. the result of the procedure or the evidence gained from it: the test for alcohol was positive
(sport) See test match
(archaic) a declaration or confirmation of truth, loyalty, etc; oath
(modifier) performed as a test: test drive, test flight
Derived Forms
testable, adjective
testability, noun
testing, adjective
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: vessel used in treating metals): from Latin testum earthen vessel


the hard or tough outer covering of certain invertebrates and tunicates
a variant of testa
Word Origin
C19: from Latin testa shell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for testing



late 14c., "small vessel used in assaying precious metals," from Old French test, from Latin testum "earthen pot," related to testa "piece of burned clay, earthen pot, shell" (cf. Latin testudo "tortoise") and texere "to weave" (cf. Lithuanian tistas "vessel made of willow twigs;" see texture (n.)).

Sense of "trial or examination to determine the correctness of something" is recorded from 1590s. The connecting notion is "ascertaining the quality of a metal by melting it in a pot." Test Act was the name given to various laws in English history meant to exclude Catholics and Nonconformists from office, especially that of 1673, repealed 1828. Test drive (v.) is first recorded 1954.


1748, "to examine the correctness of," from test (n.). Related: Tested; testing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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testing in Medicine

test (těst)

  1. A procedure for critical evaluation; a means of determining the presence, quality, or truth of something; an examination, or experiment.

  2. A physical or chemical change by which a substance may be detected or its properties ascertained.

  3. A reagent used to cause or promote such a change.

v. test·ed, test·ing, tests
  1. To subject to a test; try.

  2. To determine the presence or properties of a substance.

  3. To administer a test.

  4. To exhibit a given characteristic when subjected to a test.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for testing


Related Terms

go with the territory

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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testing in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for testing


Telemedicine and Education Support Team
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with testing
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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