(Latin: testu, testum; earthen container, earthen pot; shell, skull)
"A month's trip in the desert will put the vehicle to the test to see if it can hold up under those abnormal conditions."2. A written or spoken examination of a person's proficiency or knowledge about some topic: "The students took a vocabulary and spelling test."
"Leanne is studying for her history test; however, she has already taken the test about European capitals."3. A careful medical study of a part of the body or of a substance taken from the body: "The laboratory test revealed a problem with the proper function of Joe's bladder."
"A urine test was made to see if Sam has any evidence of a disease."
Historical origins of the term test
In Latin, testa seems originally to have designated "a shell, a carapace" (hard shell covering an animal; such as, a turtle) which became a term that was used during the Roman Empire to mean a "vessel", that is, something concave like a shell, which could hold materials to be examined.
Later, the terms in Latin became testa, testum, testu meaning "pot, cupel (porous cup)" which could be used to test coins for their content of valable metals (gold and silver).
Coins of doubtful value were melted down in such a pot so the elements of the alloy could be separated and measured.
From "pot in which precious metals could be evaluated in their liquid state", the sense of "evaluation procedures for precious metals" evolved into that which meant "evaluation procedure" of any kind. So, test has come to mean "to perform an evaluation; to evaluate".
2. To reveal the capabilities or strengths of someone or something by putting them under stress or strain: "Such requirements would severely test any working relationships."
3. To give people a short written or oral examination of their skills or knowledge: "All teachers of academic subjects are testing students to determine how much and how well they have learned."
4. To involve medical examinations of a person, a part of the body or a body fluid, etc.: "There are times when doctors must produce a specified result in a medical test; for example, a drug test or an AIDS test."
"The athlete tested positive for steroids after the race."5. To touch or to taste something to determine if it is acceptable before proceeding with further actions: "The cook tested the roast to see if it had been roasted enough and the gravy to make sure it was not too salty."
Historical background for this testing term
Being tested, as students know, is an examination given by a their teachers. Naturally, whenever the teachers are evaluating their pupils, they are testing their learning skills.
No matter how the word test is used now, it has come a long way from its original meanings. The term originated in Latin testa, meaning "earthen vessel" or "earthen pot".
When silver or gold was heated in a cupel, or test, any impurities would be absorbed by the porous container, leaving pure droplets of the precious metal.
The results of such practices developed into the idea of "putting other things to the test" in a way that is suitable to prove the genuineness of something that might be examined by means of experimenting, demonstrating, or experiencing.
The original figurative senses of test are seldom realized by those who now call any examination or means of evaluation a test.
2. A shell; protective outer layer of seeds of flowering plants.
3. Episperm; the skin or coat of a seed; especially, the outer coat.
4. The outer, usually hard, integument, or coat, of a seed.
2. Having the reddish brown color of bricks or baked clay.
Testiness is a disposition or aptness to be angry.