Definition of sample in English:



  • 1A small part or quantity intended to show what the whole is like.

    ‘investigations involved analysing samples of handwriting’
    • ‘Traffic samples are used to analyze problems in the existing network, and to obtain the network activity profile.’
    • ‘There is a visual banquet of samples and swatches available for the asking, so if you like something ask for a little taster to slip into your bag.’
    • ‘It is available today in sample quantities at speeds of 333MHz, 400MHz and 500MHz.’
    • ‘The new Toshiba chip will be available in sample quantities in April and commercially around September.’
    • ‘The company is now producing the Manitoba chip in sample quantities.’
    • ‘A smile touched his lips as he recalled how bored and frustrated he was with her drapery samples, carpet swatches, and catalogs of furniture and linens.’
    • ‘Tape sample swatches together (to make large samples) and leave on wall.’
    • ‘Many silage pits have been sampled, with the samples analysed to establish silage quality.’
    • ‘Most retailers can get you a sample swatch or will allow you to check out the book for an evening.’
    • ‘I also proposed to give handwriting samples to the FBI so that they may draw conclusions regarding the likelihood that I wrote the anthrax letters.’
    • ‘I think of leading him up to the scene after the battle, with his sample swatches of alternative flag materials, and pointing to the flag.’
    • ‘Its decision follows investigators taking handwriting samples from youngsters who took the test in June and interviews with staff and parents.’
    • ‘TI's OMAP 2 line is expected to become available in sample quantities by July.’
    • ‘According to him, all the passengers were asked for a sample of their handwriting.’
    • ‘They certainly were cooperative in terms of providing hair and handwriting samples and that sort of thing.’
    • ‘The asthma action plan that follows is a sample intended for children ages 5 and older.’
    • ‘The TM8620 is available in sample quantities, and will go into volume production later this month.’
    • ‘The woman's husband, an unemployed calligrapher, was brought in for questioning but released upon supplying handwriting samples.’
    • ‘Easy to say, of course, since the part won't be available until Q4, and then only in sample quantities.’
    • ‘She proves incapable of doing anything more than looking over samples and swatches when it comes to redecorating the kitchen.’
    representative, illustrative, selected, specimen, test, trial, typifying, typical
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    1. 1.1 A small amount of a food or other commodity, especially one given to a prospective customer.
      ‘samples of products for evaluation’
      ‘a free sample of chewing gum’
      • ‘I just wish they'd give away free samples or sell smaller-sized bags so I can more cheaply see which formula this puppy prefers.’
      • ‘Those who were unfamiliar with the taste of the halwas took a bite from the sample cups.’
      • ‘Salon brands, like Aveda and Kheil's, have mini-sized products and free samples that are perfect for tiny budgets and tiny baskets!’
      • ‘But none of them could sell their products, and none of them could provide free samples of their product until after the judges had sampled their wares.’
      • ‘Rather, he wants it to serve the same function as one of those toothpicked food samples at the supermarket: a way to entice consumers to buy the whole shebang.’
      • ‘When customers visit the shop, free samples of some of your best product is always a smart loss-leader.’
      • ‘My friend's quesadilla is so good that my one-bite sample turns into a whole quarter of her meal.’
      • ‘I was in the kitchen, baking old-fashioned recipes, giving away free samples and recipe cards.’
      • ‘One strategy taken from traditional marketing, is to give away free samples.’
      • ‘Some also give away free samples to encourage you to buy.’
      • ‘These representatives of companies travelled round the country displaying samples to prospective customers and taking orders.’
      • ‘Gardeners, cooks and veggies mix in a celebration of education, spectacle, fun and food samples.’
      • ‘Stall-holders often complain that they give away copious free samples but do not make many sales, which suggests to me that the right audience is not getting to them.’
      • ‘During the classes we are given samples of the food that the chefs are demonstrating as well as matching wines.’
      • ‘Only customer samples are available now, with full-scale production commencing in Q3, the company admitted.’
      • ‘Some catering companies will provide food samples also.’
      • ‘In a now-famous experiment, recounted in Schwartz's book, researchers set up a table at a specialty food store, offering samples of jam.’
      • ‘Gillette has given away 80,000 product samples at matches up and down the country, all without incident.’
      • ‘The centre also hopes to set up a trail around the town by asking local food retailers to offer samples of their fare or special offers.’
      • ‘A battle is raging for the hearts and wallets of new mothers as two companies compete to distribute free samples of baby products in the country's biggest hospitals.’
    2. 1.2 A specimen taken for scientific testing or analysis.
      ‘a urine sample’
      • ‘The first step is to have a blood sample analyzed for its HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) profile.’
      • ‘Grain and hay samples were analyzed for DM, ash, and soluble protein.’
      • ‘Laboratory workers unaware of the disease status of the participants analysed blood samples for C pneumoniae using whole organism antigen and time resolved fluorimetry.’
      • ‘If your doctor thinks you have a bladder infection, he or she will test a sample of your urine to find out if there are bacteria in it.’
      • ‘The cross sections of the samples are analyzed, and the pigments are identified under a polarizing or scanning electron microscope.’
      • ‘The samples are being analysed and the results will be posted on the division's website by October 2001.’
      • ‘Australian police yesterday won the right to analyse genetic samples taken from a prime suspect in the suspected murder of a Yorkshire backpacker.’
      • ‘If you are in any doubt consider having a sample analysed.’
      • ‘The samples were analyzed by the University of North Carolina - Asheville's Environmental Quality Institute.’
      • ‘The International Commission on Missing Persons will analyze bone samples.’
      • ‘We conduct science activity camps such as life sciences or nature camps where students are taught how to collect and analyse samples and discuss their findings.’
      • ‘To date, more than 44,000 blood samples have been analysed from over 760 herds, drawn from 26 counties.’
      • ‘An accredited laboratory can help by analyzing a dust sample.’
      • ‘Surprisingly simple, this machine analyzes the blood samples of several people at once, and then differences show up as peaks on this computer.’
      • ‘Nearly half did not analyse samples in the most effective way.’
      • ‘The samples were analysed by the internationally respected Cawthron Institute in Nelson, New Zealand.’
      • ‘There is a specific provision in the Act for the consumer to get the sample analysed in the laboratory established for the purpose.’
      • ‘Overall, the scientists found chlorogenic acid to be the predominant compound in all the samples analyzed.’
      • ‘To date over 9,000 samples have been analysed in the UK and around 80% have come back showing some evidence of infection.’
      • ‘In 15 years, when it's even easier to analyze a DNA sample, might governments not see DNA as the last word in personal identification?’
      specimen, example, bit, snippet, illustration, demonstration, exemplification, instance, selection, representative piece
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    3. 1.3Statistics A portion drawn from a population, the study of which is intended to lead to statistical estimates of the attributes of the whole population.
      ‘they shared these characteristics with other women in the sample’
      ‘a simple random sample of forty-five students’
      • ‘The same causal model applied to the whole sample and the split samples of students born in Hong Kong and on the mainland.’
      • ‘Fifteen studies examined total populations or random samples of such populations.’
      • ‘Five trials either did not report a clear calculation of sample size or failed to achieve the intended sample size.’
      • ‘For the whole sample, we identified whether participants were high or low on locus and controllability.’
      • ‘To study a distribution, take random samples from a population and analyze them.’
      cross section, variety, sampling, test
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  • 2A sound or piece of music created by sampling.

    ‘piano samples’
    • ‘He can go from eerily quiet acoustic moments to all out rock ‘n’ roll while using computer samples to keep the whole thing ticking over.’
    • ‘The Prefuse recipe calls for chunky breakbeats generously peppered with piano, vocals, video game samples and other left-field sounds.’
    • ‘While there's nothing wrong with the Roots integrating samples by these classic artists into their sound, it's not exactly the most daring of moves.’
    • ‘The lone Surfer plays along to a backing track of cinematic sounds and irrelevant samples.’
    • ‘In The Bath, the first track, is just a nice listen, while Nervous Tension, the second track, feels quite jazzy but is broken up with some beautiful piano samples.’
    • ‘They were like boys with little electronic toys - playing with synthesized sounds, samples and distorted pedals.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, he has used these piano based samples as an interesting canvas on which to work, and his modifications shine through brilliantly.’
    • ‘With this attitude in place, the disc works pretty well whether you're into digging out early hip-hop samples or not.’
    • ‘The Parker Tapes is composed entirely of voice and music samples, cut to shreds and reassembled over the course of seven years.’
    • ‘Their debut, Vegas, emulated the ‘big beat’ sound by pasting hip hop samples and rock riffs atop break beats.’
    • ‘A new track mixing samples and loops together with the sounds of the band, draw us into tonight's performance, like a mantra or siren song lulling one and all into a false sense of security.’
    • ‘The slow gait of percussion samples throughout the album provides room for the more ethereal sounds to permeate the listener's psyche.’
    • ‘To these samples are added sounds captured by the MIR space station, which were then incorporated into his own compositions.’
    • ‘The amount of attention paid to detail in creating high-quality piano samples comes at a price.’
    • ‘The music is varied, contextualising music-box melodies, razor-sharp beats and nostalgic acid-house key samples.’
    • ‘Some of the music released during this period now sounds terribly dated, however, relying as it does on overly familiar textbook samples and sounds.’
    • ‘Bringing together and shaping a disparate collection of vocal and musical samples he creates a rich cultural portrait that succeeds both conceptually and aesthetically.’
    • ‘AmmonContact's jazz leanings comes forth also, as many pieces use acoustic bass and piano samples and couple them with funky hip hop beats.’
    • ‘I was frustrated with doing live shows with the sample based music I had created in the past.’
    • ‘On Stargazing, singers gently coo over leisurely breakbeats, spacey samples and woozy strings.’


[with object]
  • 1Take a sample or samples of (something) for analysis.

    ‘bone marrow cells were sampled’
    • ‘From this number, 5,144 births were randomly sampled, and 312 cases of early-onset GBS disease were revealed.’
    • ‘In 1991, a comparison was done between the household sampling and telephone sampling methods.’
    • ‘Among the 20 cases, variable numbers of parathyroid glands were sampled and histologically examined in the pathology laboratory.’
    • ‘Any discharge from the drainage system must be sampled.’
    • ‘The randomly sampled subcohort also allows for unbiased analysis of other outcomes, e.g., sensitization, by comparing affected and nonaffected children in the subcohort.’
    • ‘Households with telephones were sampled randomly, with a probability proportional to the size of the HSA in which they resided.’
    • ‘We randomly sampled a group of 10 000 control patients from the study cohort.’
    • ‘Individual households were sampled randomly through the use of a computerized telephone directory.’
    • ‘Normal samples will produce insufficient numbers for reliable analysis so that special sampling techniques need to be employed.’
    • ‘One hundred patients cards were randomly sampled from the author's acupuncture clinic.’
    • ‘The cervical opening is widest during ovulation, so it's easier to sample the cells in the cervical canal at that point.’
    • ‘In addition further tests were carried out to sample the moisture of the concrete below the surface with the following results.’
    • ‘In the United States and the Netherlands they actively go out and randomly sample the population.’
    • ‘Our study differed from these four in that we included only women and selected them on the basis of risk factors for fracture, whereas these studies included men and may have sampled a population at lower risk.’
    • ‘Beagle 2 will also sample the atmosphere, checking for methane a certain indicator of life that is still thriving.’
    • ‘Cordless drills are based on tools originally used to sample lunar soil.’
    • ‘During the visit three different habitats were studied by sampling the vegetation and aquatic life using quadrates and pond nets respectively.’
    • ‘The homes were sampled from seventy-five randomly selected areas (generally counties or groups of counties) across the entire country.’
    • ‘There was quite clearly a situation where the urine was sampled and analysed in the first instance.’
    • ‘In the smaller prisons all prisoners were surveyed, while in the three largest prisons one half of the population was randomly sampled.’
    1. 1.1 Try the qualities of (food or drink) by tasting it.
      ‘it is a chance to sample probably the widest range of wines ever assembled’
      • ‘Once at the beach everyone was free to go local, sample snacks and drinks at the beach tavernas, swim nude, or just hang out.’
      • ‘The stalls on the side of the road tend to sell cheap touristy products, but you should check them out anyway to sample some of the food items.’
      • ‘You may also want to set up a booth at the front desk and let members sample food for your healthy cooking class or have your new salon dab free lotion on members' hands as they leave.’
      • ‘Of course we found an Irish pub before leaving and we sampled the food and drink on our last night after a hard week's work.’
      • ‘Don't miss the chance to sample the wines that this family has been producing since the 1880s.’
      • ‘There will be cookery demonstrations, videos, information and, of course, a chance to sample some of the delicious food that will be on display.’
      • ‘The three of us stop at the Boeger Winery tasting room to sample their Barbera varietal.’
      • ‘The Food Fight offers a chance to sample food and drink prepared by more than 45 restaurants and beverage suppliers.’
      • ‘Usda inspectors sample apples to gauge taste and other quality factors.’
      • ‘Do they prefer sampling a product in a store, or getting a trial package in the mail?’
      • ‘We enjoyed some excellent food and they sampled a few more varieties of Canadian wines and beers, all of which they had commented quite favourably on.’
      • ‘Tonight I had the opportunity to sample Pop Secret's Honey Butter Popcorn.’
      • ‘A Jamaican steel band and reggae entertainment are set to liven up the party at BBC WM and special guests can sample traditional food and drink.’
      • ‘Start with water, and sample the other five foods to see which work best for you.’
      • ‘The eat on the street is running on George's Street from 3-5 pm and will give everyone a chance to sample foods from other cultures.’
      • ‘Women will contribute to a potluck refreshment stand where they sample nutritional food that can help reduce certain health risks and problems.’
      • ‘If you have room left over for dessert, you can sample the Honey Cake, which comes with fresh strawberries.’
      • ‘Next up we sampled the Tuna Tataki, and again, it featured an inventive combination of textures and flavours: the seared tuna, served with grated radish and slivers of roasted garlic, lay on a crisp bed of greens.’
      • ‘Here you can sample the produce and talk to the knowledgeable guides, who'll also show you the rows off vines planted on the rocky soils of the hills behind.’
      • ‘One of the highlights was the Tuscan vineyard and the opportunity to sample the wine and food after a guided tour of the 1000-year-old winery.’
      try out, try, taste, sip, nibble, test, put to the test, dip into, experiment with, experience, inspect, examine, check out, appraise, evaluate
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    2. 1.2 Get a representative experience of.
      ‘sample some entertaining nights out in Liverpool’
      • ‘Today, about 10,000 people a year visit from around the world to sample the Esalen Experience.’
      • ‘On the other hand I have also had a chance to sample some of the beauty that this city has to offer.’
      • ‘Ask for a free trial session so you can sample the coach's style and see if it fits with yours.’
      • ‘Marbella, with its magnificent boutiques, extraordinary yachts and flashy patrons is best sampled by night.’
      • ‘We would sample stuff from the river valley, things like that.’
      • ‘In the east of Natal, a series of game reserves offer the chance to sample some of South Africa's varied and prolific wildlife.’
      • ‘They raved about the courses, the restaurants they sampled, the food and the Guinness.’
      • ‘Other than the solo campaign, the game promises to deliver a varied multiplayer experience, the gameplay of which can be sampled in the recently released multiplayer demo.’
      • ‘The tour will visit seven cellar doors to allow the chance to sample the best the region has to offer as well as take a guided tour of a winery.’
      • ‘We thus have had a chance to sample the health diet available under two very different systems of health care.’
      • ‘Children will be provided for with a chance to sample everything from writing to drama, all children's events will be free of charge.’
      • ‘It seems like you're already sampling the simpler pleasures of our island life.’
      • ‘Delhiites will get a chance to sample the traditional and contemporary puppeteers as well as puppets from abroad.’
      • ‘They also sampled the local fare (as one would expect).’
      • ‘On the second night we sampled the excellent Cove restaurant there.’
  • 2Electronics
    Ascertain the momentary value of (an analogue signal) many times a second so as to convert the signal to digital form.

    ‘the input signal must be sampled at twice its highest frequency’
    • ‘The signals were amplified to volt levels and sampled by using a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter.’
    • ‘In each cyclic test, we sampled 10 peak values every 1000 cycles and used the average of the 10 values as a representative value at each 1000th cycle.’
    • ‘The pressure signal was sampled at 100 Hz from a battery-run pressure transducer and passed through an electronic filter before being recorded by computer.’
    • ‘All signals were sampled at 200 Hz, except for the electrocardiograph signal, which was sampled at 1,000 Hz.’
    • ‘Coronary flow velocity signals were sampled at a preselected fixed distance of 5.2 mm from the device tip to minimize turbulence caused by the presence of the measuring device.’
    1. 2.1 Record or extract (a small piece of music or sound) digitally for reuse as part of a composition or song.
      ‘riffs sampled from other musicians’
      • ‘Hip hop producers of the past have sampled portions or breaks (instrumental segments) from classic tunes to funkify their own beats.’
      • ‘One of the first producers to sample disco music, he is partly responsible for giving meaning to ‘disco house’ as we know it.’
      • ‘If you wanted to find out which soul, funk, and jazz artists were being sampled in your favorite hip-hop songs, you had to hang out with producers.’
      • ‘In this latest version of the SFO, twelve women played electric guitars and five sampled the sound of the guitars and transformed it on laptops.’
      • ‘Yet for Nightmares on Wax junkies, the Limited Edition CD is essential, featuring the best of this and previous albums sampled and remixed for 39 minutes of further joy.’
      • ‘It remains to be seen whether electro-tango is a blip or a school of thought, though, and fans, beginning to get weary of hearing their favourite riffs sampled in jingles and TV commercials, are eagerly awaiting a follow up.’
      • ‘All of the sounds are sampled live and the audience is treated to witnessing the building or layering of textures evolving into a song.’
      • ‘The voice of a norteno musician sampled in Plankton Man's ‘Recinto Portuario’ compels people to take the dance floor.’
      • ‘Around this time I started fooling around with sampling some of the sounds off the records and putting my own beats to them.’
      • ‘Sometimes there are even little diced-up chunks of human vocals, but whether this is the work of a Voder, or sampling from old hip-hop records, I can't tell.’
      • ‘Through sampling, digital processing and electro-acoustic techniques they produce a sound of surprising emotive power and musicality.’
      • ‘The album itself is dominated by light jazzy grooves, but is often rudely interrupted by snatches of TV, radio, and roughly sampled sounds.’
      • ‘The song has been sampled, ground through a musical coffee mill and then set on fire in the middle of a gabba rave where old school jungle happens to bleed in from time to time.’
      • ‘As you probably know, some music fans are now sampling and mashing together two or more songs and trading the results online.’
      • ‘It's a postmodern melding of elements that could easily have made this music before his sampling and mixing.’
      • ‘I do feel a connection with younger artists - especially with people who sample my music or the music of my contemporaries.’
      • ‘Throughout the nine variations of ‘Guero’ here, his pieces are cut-up, sampled and spliced into downtempo minimalist techno.’
      • ‘The bass is a fluid boom, sounding like it was sampled from an old Charlie Mingus acoustic bass groove, and the drums sound like they originated on an old skool Blue Note or Impulse album.’
      • ‘As a teen he became even more inquisitive, sampling everything from Jimi Hendrix's psychedelic blues to grunge gods Nirvana and even early punk via Iggy and the Stooges.’
      • ‘Some of the vocals are provided by guest stars or are sampled from recordings by other artists (Maire Brennan and Clannad).’


Middle English (as a noun): from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French essample ‘example’. Current senses of the verb date from the mid 18th century.