[ sam-pling, sahm- ]
/ ˈsæm plɪŋ, ˈsɑm- /


the act or process of selecting a sample for testing, analyzing, etc.
the sample so selected.



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Origin of sampling

First recorded in 1630–40; sample + -ing1

Definition for sampling (2 of 2)

[ sam-puh l, sahm- ]
/ ˈsæm pəl, ˈsɑm- /


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


serving as a specimen: a sample piece of cloth.

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

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.


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··sam·ple, verb (used with object), re·sam·pled, re·sam·pling. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for sampling

British Dictionary definitions for sampling (1 of 2)

/ (ˈsɑːmplɪŋ) /


the process of selecting a random sample
a variant of sample (def. 2)
the process of taking a short extract from (a record) and mixing it into a different backing track
a process in which a continuous electrical signal is approximately represented by a series of discrete values, usually regularly spaced

British Dictionary definitions for sampling (2 of 2)

/ (ˈsɑːmpəl) /


  1. a small part of anything, intended as representative of the whole; specimen
  2. (as modifier)a sample bottle
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


(tr) to take a sample or samples of
  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

Word Origin for 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 sampling


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.