to examine or analyze:
to assay a situation; to assay an event.
Metallurgy. to analyze (an ore, alloy, etc.) in order to determine the quantity of gold, silver, or other metal in it.
Pharmacology. to subject (a drug) to an analysis for the determination of its potency or composition.
to judge the quality of; assess; evaluate:
to assay someone’s efforts.
to try or test; put to trial:
to assay one’s strength; to assay one’s debating abilities.
to attempt; try; essay:
to assay a dance step.
to contain, as shown by analysis, a certain proportion of usually precious metal.
Metallurgy. determination of the amount of metal, especially gold or silver, in an ore, alloy, etc.
a substance undergoing analysis or trial.
a detailed report of the findings in assaying a substance.
Archaic. examination; trial; attempt; essay.
Historical Examples

In this place I ought not to omit mention of another method of assaying employed by some assayers.
De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola

I assisted in the assaying department for a short time in 1867.
Some Reminiscences of old Victoria Edgar Fawcett

In truth, however, there are books on assaying four centuries younger that are worse.
De Re Metallica Georgius Agricola

The Science room and laboratory were used for chemistry and assaying.
McGill and its Story, 1821-1921 Cyrus Macmillan

Docimasy, dos′i-ma-si, n. the art by which the nature and proportions of an ore are determined: assaying: examination of poisons.
Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D) Various

I could be more certain of helping you when it comes to assaying or developing a mine.
Rimrock Trail J. Allan Dunn

At present I’m doing some of the assaying, and have charge of the sluice-gang.
Sisters Kathleen Norris

On such a system of assaying as that, the Humboldt world had gone crazy.
Roughing It Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Cupel, kū′pel, n. a small vessel used by goldsmiths in assaying precious metals.
Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D) Various

They are exceedingly useful in assaying, as they resist the action of fused oxide of lead much better than most clay crucibles.
Cooley’s Cyclopdia of Practical Receipts and Collateral Information in the Arts, Manufactures, Professions, and Trades…, Sixth Edition, Volume I Arnold Cooley

verb (əˈseɪ)
to subject (a substance, such as silver or gold) to chemical analysis, as in the determination of the amount of impurity
(transitive) to attempt (something or to do something)
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to test, analyse, or evaluate: to assay the significance of early childhood experience
noun (əˈseɪ; ˈæseɪ)

an analysis, esp a determination of the amount of metal in an ore or the amounts of impurities in a precious metal
(as modifier): an assay office

a substance undergoing an analysis
a written report on the results of an analysis
a test
(archaic) an attempt

c.1300, “to try, endeavor, strive; test the quality of,” from Anglo-French assaier, from assai (n.), from Old French essai “trial” (see essay).

“trial, test of quality, test of character,” mid-14c., from Anglo-French assai (see assay (v.)). Meaning “analysis” is from late 14c.

assay as·say (ās’ā’, ā-sā’)

Qualitative or quantitative analysis of a substance, especially of an ore or a drug, to determine its components.

A substance to be so analyzed.

The result of such an analysis.

An analysis or examination.

v. as·sayed, as·say·ing, as·says (ā-sā’, ās’ā’)

To subject a substance to chemical analysis.

To examine a person’s capability by trial or experiment; put to a test.

To evaluate a situation; assess.

To attempt; try.

To be shown by analysis to contain a certain proportion of atoms, molecules, compounds, or precious metal.

(ās’ā, ə-sā’)

A quantitative determination of the amount of a given substance in a particular sample. Assays are regularly used to determine the purity of precious metals. They can be performed by wet methods or dry methods. In the wet method, the sample is dissolved in a reagent, like an acid, until the purified metal is separated out. In the dry method, the sample is mixed with a flux (a substance such as borax or silica that helps lower the melting temperature) and then heated to the point where impurities in the metal fuse with the flux, leaving the purified metal as a residue.

A bioassay.

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