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assay vb. (now almost superseded by ‘essay’ except in the sense of testing metals)
1. to try, attempt Meas. I. iv. 76 “Assay the power you have,” Ham. IV. vii. 152, Oth. II. iii. 209 “passion . . . Assays to lead the way.”
2. to learn by experience Compl. 156 “The destin'd ill she must herself assay.”
3. to assail with words, accost, address with proposals of love Wiv. II. i. 25 “that he dares in this manner me,” Meas. I. ii. 192 “bid herself him.”
4. to challenge to a trial of strength or skill 1H4 V. iv. 34, Ham. III. i. 14 “Did you assay him To any pastime?”
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  • Cross-references in text-specific dictionaries from this page (3):
    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 3.1
    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 4.7
    • William Shakespeare, The First Part of Henry IV, 5.4
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