December 08, 2018
test (noun)
\TEST\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a means of finding out the nature, quality, or value of something2 : a procedure or method for identifying something3 : a set of questions or problems designed to find out a person's knowledge, skills, or intelligence
How do you use it?
"She said goodbye to Ellen on the second floor, where Ellen lived, and continued on to the third, practicing in her mind a cheerful greeting for her mother: a smile, a description of today's spelling test, in which she had done well." (Lois Lowry, _Number the Stars_)
Are you a word wiz?

Let's test your skills as a word historian. What do you think "test" originally referred to?

Answer A passes the test. "Test" derives from Latin "testu" or "testum," meaning an earthenware pot. Old French adopted the Latin words as "test." French "test" meant a shallow, porous cup used to analyze precious metals. When impure silver and gold were heated in it, the cup absorbed the impurities, leaving a small blob of almost pure metal. The word "test" for this cup (also called a "cupel") entered English in the 1300s. By about 1600, "test" was used in such phrases as "put to the test," meaning to make a trial of something to determine its genuineness. The more familiar meaning of "test" arose from this figurative use.
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