Coined over 400 years ago

Posted by Albert Gareev on Jan 05, 2007 | Categories: Notes

Why testing?

Word Origin & History

late 14c., “small vessel used in assaying precious metals,” from O.Fr. test,  from L. testum  “earthen pot,” related to testa  “piece of burned clay, earthen pot, shell” (cf. L. testudo  “tortoise”) and texere  “to weave” (cf. Lith. tistas  “vessel made of willow twigs;” see texture). Sense of “trial or examination to determine the correctness of something” is recorded from 1590s.

–verb (used with object)
1. to examine or analyze: to assay a situation; to assay an event.
2. Metallurgy . to analyze (an ore, alloy, etc.) in order to determine the quantity of gold, silver, or other metal in it.
3. Pharmacology . to subject (a drug) to an analysis for the determination of its potency or composition.
4. to judge the quality of; assess; evaluate: to assay someone’s efforts.
5. to try or test; put to trial: to assay one’s strength; to assay one’s debating abilities.
6. to attempt; try; essay: to assay a dance step.

Word Origin & History

early 14c., from Anglo-Fr. assaier , from assai  (n.), from O.Fr. essai –  “trial”

My notes

  • It all started with a trial [to do something]
  • Outcome of the trial is unknown
  • During the trial you need to affect the substance in some way [crush it; mix with water; melt it]
  • Trial is performed in order to examine [something; originally – an ore]
  • In origin, examination sets as a primary goal to identify the quantity of valuables [gold, silver, and other precious metals]
  • The  higher quantity of valuables the higher quality of the substance

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work by Albert Gareev is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.