[ sam-puhl, sahm- ]
See synonyms for: samplesamplessampling on

  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.

  1. 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.

Origin of sample

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English word from Old French word essample.See example

synonym study For sample

1. See example.

Other words from sample

  • in·ter·sam·ple, noun, adjective, verb (used with object), in·ter·sam·pled, in·ter·sam·pling.
  • mis·sam·ple, verb, mis·sam·pled, mis·sam·pling.
  • re·sam·ple, verb (used with object), re·sam·pled, re·sam·pling.

Words Nearby sample Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sample in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sample


/ (ˈsɑːmpəl) /

    • a small part of anything, intended as representative of the whole; specimen

    • (as modifier): a sample bottle

  1. Also called: sampling statistics

    • 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 population: See also matched sample

    • (as modifier): sample distribution

  1. (tr) to take a sample or samples of

  2. music

    • to take a short extract from (one record) and mix it into a different backing track

    • to record (a sound) and feed it into a computerized synthesizer so that it can be reproduced at any pitch

Origin of sample

C13: from Old French essample, from Latin exemplum example

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for sample


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

Notes for sample

Opinion polls use small groups of people, often selected at random, as a sample of the opinions of the general public.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.