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Assayʹ

or Essayʹ. To take the assay is to taste wine to prove it is not poisoned. Hence, to try, to taste; a savour, trial, or sample. Holinshed says, “Wolsey made dukes and earls serve him of wine with a say taken” (p. 847).

Edmund, in King Lear (v. 5), says to Edgar, “Thy tongue, some say of breeding breathes;” i.e. thy speech gives indication of good breeding—it savours of it. Hence the expression, I make my first assay (trial).

“[He] makes vow before his uncle never more

To give the assay of arms against your majesty.”


A cup of assay. A cup for the assay of wine.

To put it in assay. To put it to the test.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Aspersions
Aspnaltic Lake
Asrael
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Ass’s Bridge (The)
Asses (Feast of)
Ass-eared
Assassins
Assay
Assaye Regiment
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Assinego
Assumption (Feast of the)
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Astagoras (in Jerusalem Delivered)
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