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sample definition


This page has 12 definitions of sample in English, French, and Spanish, Castilian. Sample is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use sample in a sentence are shown. Also define these 14 related words and terms: part, snippet, specimen, statistics, population, cooking, business, music, example, pattern, continuous, signal, discrete, and computer graphics.

See also: SAMPLE

English sample definition


From Middle English saumple, sample, from Old French essample (example), from Latin exemplum. Doublet of example and exemplum.



sample (plural samples)

  1. A part or snippet of something taken or presented for inspection, or shown as evidence of the quality of the whole; a specimen.
    a blood sample
    • 1869, Richard Doddridge Blackmore, “Quo Warranto?”, in Lorna Doone, page 99:
      He looked down into Glen Doone first, and sniffed as if he were smelling it, like a sample of goods from a wholesale house; and then he looked at the hills over yonder, and then he stared at me.
    • 2014 May 7, Anh Do, “War orphan named 'Precious Pearl' reunites with South Vietnamese soldier who rescued her in '72”, in The Sydney Morning Herald[1]:
      Then one day in May 2012, he picked up a free sample of a Vietnamese-language magazine based in New Jersey. In it, he saw an article about a career Navy officer named Kimberly Mitchell and her search into her past.
  2. (statistics) A subset of a population selected for measurement, observation or questioning, to provide statistical information about the population.
    Large samples are generally more reliable than small samples due to having less variability.
    • 1883, Sir Francis Galton et al., “Final Report of the Anthropometric Committee”, in Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, page 269:
      It is interesting to find that, with the exception of a few imperfectly-observed South Sea Islanders, and whose actual numbers, if the measurements are correct, are very few, the English professional classes head the long list [in average height], and that the Anglo-Saxon race takes the chief place in it among the civilised communities, although it is possible it might stand second to the Scandinavian countries if a fair sample of their population were obtained.
    • Statistics definition
      A discipline, principally within applied mathematics, concerned with the systematic study of the collection, presentation, analysis, and interpretation of data.
  3. (cooking) A small quantity of food for tasting, typically given away for free.
  4. (business) A small piece of some goods, for determining quality, colour, etc., typically given away for free.
  5. (music) Gratuitous borrowing of easily recognised phases (or moments) from other music (or movies) in a recording.
    • 2016 December 1, Peter Bradshaw, “Blue Velvet review – still inventive, sexy and bizarre”, in The Guardian[2]:
      Jeffrey conceives a fascination with nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) who sings Blue Velvet, while her abusive, misogynist sugar-daddy Frank (Dennis Hopper) watches, caressing a sample of this same material.
  6. (obsolete) Example; pattern.
    • Example definition
      Something that is representative of all such things in a group. (1 of 6 example definitions)



  • product sample



sample (third-person singular simple present samples, present participle sampling, simple past and past participle sampled)

  1. (transitive) To take or to test a sample or samples of.
    • 1893, Mark Twain, “The £1,000,000 Bank-Note”, in The £1,000,000 Bank-Note and Other Stories, page 2–3:
      They had just finished their breakfast, and the sight of the remains of it almost overpowered me. I could hardly keep my wits together in the presence of that food, but as I was not asked to sample it, I had to bear my trouble as best I could.
    • 1895, Frank Richard Stockton, “Mok as a Vocalist”, in The Adventures of Captain Horn, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, published 1907, page 367:
      Mok was enjoying himself very much. It was not often that he had such an opportunity to sample the delights of Paris. His young master, Ralph, had given him strict orders never to go out at night, or in his leisure hours, unless accompanied by Cheditafa.
    • 1960 March, G. Freeman Allen, “Europe's most luxurious express - the "Settebello"”, in Trains Illustrated, page 140:
      I did not really wonder, after sampling the "Settebello's" standards of comfort and service, that even on a midweek day in autumn there was not a seat to spare, despite the cost.
    • 2005, Ted LoCascio, InDesign CS2 at Your Fingertips, →ISBN, page 46:
      The Eyedropper tool allows you to sample colors from anywhere in your open InDesign documents (yes, even from placed images!) You can add a sampled color to the Swatches palette and then apply it to the fill or stroke of any frame, shape, path, line, or table.
    • 2008, Mark Fitzgerald, Photoshop CS3 Restoration and Retouching Bible, →ISBN, page 148:
      The Healing brush is similar to the Clone Stamp in that information is sampled by Alt-clicking and then painted into other parts of the image. The big difference is that the Healing brush attempts to make the sampled data match the lighting and shading of the area to which it's being applied.
  2. (transitive, signal processing) To reduce a continuous signal (such as a sound wave) to a discrete signal.
    • Signal definition
      A sequence of states representing an encoded message in a communication channel. (1 of 10 signal definitions)
  3. (music, transitive) To reuse a portion of (an existing sound recording) in a new piece of music.
    • 2011, Kembrew McLeod & Peter DiCola, Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling, →ISBN, page 130:
      To address this novel legal quandary, one legal treatise on copyright has developed the concept of fragmented literal similarity, a method of determining whether a sample-based work is substantially similar to the source it sampled. The name reflects the exactness of the similarity between the snippet of a track that is sampled and the sampled copy of that snippet.
  4. (transitive, computer graphics) To make or show something similar to a sample.
    • 2006, Translation of Digital Process to Architectural Program, →ISBN, page 6:
      It means that a larger image field can be sampled from a lower resolution copy without much loss in comparative data, only the number of data points to be manipulated.



French sample definition



sample m (plural samples)

  1. (Louisiana, Cajun French) a sample

Spanish sample definition


sample m (plural samples)

  1. (music) sample