1. a small part of anything or one of a number, intended to show the quality, style, or nature of the whole; specimen.
  2. Statistics. a subset of a population: to study a sample of the total population.
  3. a sound of short duration, as a musical tone or a drumbeat, digitally stored in a synthesizer for playback.


  1. serving as a specimen: a sample piece of cloth.

verb (used with object), sam·pled, sam·pling.

  1. to take a sample or samples of; test or judge by a sample.


    1. a small part of anything, intended as representative of the whole; specimen
    2. (as modifier)a sample bottle
  1. Also called: sampling statistics
    1. a set of individuals or items selected from a population for analysis to yield estimates of, or to test hypotheses about, parameters of the whole population. A biased sample is one in which the items selected share some property which influences their distribution, while a random sample is devised to avoid any such interference so that its distribution is affected only by, and so can be held to represent, that of the whole populationSee also matched sample
    2. (as modifier)sample distribution


  1. (tr) to take a sample or samples of
  2. music
    1. to take a short extract from (one record) and mix it into a different backing track
    2. to record (a sound) and feed it into a computerized synthesizer so that it can be reproduced at any pitch

c.1300, “something which confirms a proposition or statement,” from Anglo-French saumple, a shortening of Old French essample, from Latin exemplum “a sample” (see example). Meaning “small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred” (usually in a commercial sense) is recorded from early 15c.; sense of “specimen for scientific sampling” is from 1878. As an adjective from 1820.


“to test by taking a sample,” 1767, from sample (n.). Earlier “to be a match for” (1590s). Related: Sampled; sampling.

In statistics, a group drawn from a larger population and used to estimate the characteristics of the whole population.

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