1. the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; a means of trial.
  2. the trial of the quality of something: to put to the test.
  3. a particular process or method for trying or assessing.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Chemistry.
    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.
  7. an oath or other confirmation of one’s loyalty, religious beliefs, etc.
  8. British. a cupel for refining or assaying metals.

verb (used with object)

  1. to subject to a test of any kind; try.
  2. Chemistry. to subject to a chemical test.
  3. Metallurgy. to assay or refine in a cupel.

verb (used without object)

  1. to undergo a test or trial; try out.
  2. to perform on a test: People test better in a relaxed environment.
  3. to conduct a test: to test for diabetes.


  1. to ascertain (the worth, capability, or endurance) of (a person or thing) by subjection to certain examinations; try
  2. (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 propertyto test food for arsenic; to test for magnetization
  3. (intr) to achieve a specified result in a testa quarter of the patients at the clinic tested positive for the AIDS virus
  4. (tr) to put under severe strainthe long delay tested my patience
  5. test the water to make an exploratory or initial approach; sound out


  1. a method, practice, or examination designed to test a person or thing
  2. a series of questions or problems designed to test a specific skill or knowledgean intelligence test
  3. 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 procedurelitmus is a test for acids
    3. the result of the procedure or the evidence gained from itthe test for alcohol was positive
  4. sport See test match
  5. archaic a declaration or confirmation of truth, loyalty, etc; oath
  6. (modifier) performed as a testtest drive; test flight


  1. the hard or tough outer covering of certain invertebrates and tunicates
  2. a variant of testa

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

  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.


  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.

see acid test; put to the test.

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