Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: 'pot for testing metals', from Latin testum 'clay pot'


1 noun
test1 S1 W1 [countable]


a set of questions, exercises, or practical activities to measure someone's skill, ability, or knowledge
spelling/driving/biology etc test
How did you do on your maths test?
pass/fail a test
She passed her driving test when she was 17.
take/do/sit a test
Applicants are required to take a written test.
test on
We have a test on irregular verbs tomorrow.
The school's test scores are among the highest in the district.
Did you get a good mark in the test?
! You take or do a test. Do not say 'make a test'. To pass a test means to succeed in it, not simply to take it.


a) a medical examination on a part of your body, or a substance taken from your body, to check your health or to discover what is wrong with you:
a blood test
an eye test
a hearing test
a pregnancy test
do/run a test
They don't know what's wrong with her yet - they're doing tests.
test for
a test for HIV
I'm still waiting for my test results from the hospital.
b) an examination of someone's blood, breath etc carried out by the police, to discover if they have done something illegal:
a drugs test
The results of the DNA test proved that Simmons was the rapist.
breath test (=to find out if someone has been drinking alcohol before driving a car)
c) a piece of equipment used for carrying out a medical examination:
a pregnancy test


a process used to discover whether equipment or a product works correctly, or to discover more about it:
nuclear weapons tests
test for
a test for chemicals in the water
Laboratory tests show that the new drug is very effective.
We went to the test site in Nevada.

difficult situation

a difficult situation in which the qualities of someone or something are clearly shown:
Chess player Nigel Short faces Anatoly Karpov in the toughest test of his career so far.
test of character/strength/courage/endurance etc
The problems she faced were a real test of character.

put somebody/something to the test

to force someone or something into a difficult situation in order to discover what the limits of their strength, skills etc are:
Living together will soon put their relationship to the test.
Paul soon found himself in an emergency situation that put all his training to the test.


British EnglishDSC a test match
smear test, means test

; ➔ stand the test of time

at stand1 (8)

; ➔ the acid test

at acid2 (3)

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