Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[trahy] /traɪ/
verb (used with object), tried, trying.
to attempt to do or accomplish:
Try it before you say it's simple.
to test the effect or result of (often followed by out):
to try a new method; to try a recipe out.
to endeavor to evaluate by experiment or experience:
to try a new field; to try a new book.
to test the quality, value, fitness, accuracy, etc., of:
Will you try a spoonful of this and tell me what you think of it?
Law. to examine and determine judicially, as a cause; determine judicially the guilt or innocence of (a person).
to put to a severe test; subject to strain, as of endurance, patience, affliction, or trouble; tax:
to try one's patience.
to attempt to open (a door, window, etc.) in order to find out whether it is locked:
Try all the doors before leaving.
to melt down (fat, blubber, etc.) to obtain the oil; render (usually followed by out).
  1. to determine the truth or right of (a quarrel or question) by test or battle (sometimes followed by out).
  2. to find to be right by test or experience.
verb (used without object), tried, trying.
to make an attempt or effort; strive:
Try to complete the examination.
Nautical. to lie to in heavy weather under just sufficient sail to head into the wind.
noun, plural tries.
an attempt or effort:
to have a try at something.
Rugby. a score of three points earned by advancing the ball to or beyond the opponents' goal line.
Verb phrases
try on, to put on an article of clothing in order to judge its appearance and fit:
You can't really tell how it will look until you try it on.
try out, to use experimentally; test:
to try out a new car.
try out for, to compete for (a position, membership, etc.):
Over a hundred boys came to try out for the football team.
give it the old college try, Informal. to make a sincere effort:
I gave it the old college try and finally found an apartment.
try it / that on, Chiefly British Informal.
  1. to put on airs:
    She's been trying it on ever since the inheritance came through.
  2. to be forward or presumptuous, especially with a member of the opposite sex:
    She avoided him after he'd tried it on with her.
Origin of try
1250-1300; Middle English trien to try (a legal case) < Anglo-French trier, Old French: to sift, cull, of uncertain origin
Related forms
pretry, verb (used with object), pretried, pretrying.
retry, verb, retried, retrying.
1, 10. Try, attempt, endeavor, strive all mean to put forth an effort toward a specific end. Try is the most often used and most general term: to try to decipher a message; to try hard to succeed. Attempt, often interchangeable with try, sometimes suggests the possibility of failure and is often used in reference to more serious or important matters: to attempt to formulate a new theory of motion. Endeavor emphasizes serious and continued exertion of effort, sometimes aimed at dutiful or socially appropriate behavior: to endeavor to fulfill one's obligations. Strive, stresses persistent, vigorous, even strenuous effort, often in the face of obstacles: to strive to overcome a handicap.
Usage note
10. Try followed by and instead of to has been in standard use since the 17th century: The Justice Department has decided to try and regulate jury-selection practices. The construction occurs only with the base form try, not with tries or tried or trying. Although some believe that try and is less formal than try to, both patterns occur in all types of speech and writing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for pretry


verb tries, trying, tried
when tr, may take an infinitive, sometimes with to replaced by and. to make an effort or attempt: he tried to climb a cliff
(transitive) often foll by out. to sample, test, or give experimental use to (something) in order to determine its quality, worth, etc: try her cheese flan
(transitive) to put strain or stress on: he tries my patience
(transitive; often passive) to give pain, affliction, or vexation to: I have been sorely tried by those children
  1. to examine and determine the issues involved in (a cause) in a court of law
  2. to hear evidence in order to determine the guilt or innocence of (an accused)
  3. to sit as judge at the trial of (an issue or person)
(transitive) to melt (fat, lard, etc) in order to separate out impurities
(obsolete) (transitive) usually foll by out. to extract (a material) from an ore, mixture, etc, usually by heat; refine
noun (pl) tries
an experiment or trial
an attempt or effort
(rugby) the act of an attacking player touching the ball down behind the opposing team's goal line, scoring five or, in Rugby League, four points
(American football) Also called try for a point. an attempt made after a touchdown to score an extra point by kicking a goal or, for two extra points, by running the ball or completing a pass across the opponents' goal line
See also try on, try out
Usage note
The use of and instead of to after try is very common, but should be avoided in formal writing: we must try to prevent (not try and prevent) this happening
Word Origin
C13: from Old French trier to sort, sift, of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pretry



c.1300, "examine judiciously, sit in judgment of," from Anglo-French trier (late 13c.), from Old French trier "to pick out, cull" (12c.), from Gallo-Romance *triare, of unknown origin. The ground sense is "separate out (the good) by examination." Meaning "to test" is first recorded mid-14c.; that of "attempt to do" is from early 14c. Sense of "to subject to some strain" (of patience, endurance, etc.) is recorded from 1530s. Trying "distressing" is first attested 1718. To try (something) on for size in the figurative sense is recorded from 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
pretry in Medicine

Try abbr.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for pretry


Related Terms

the old college try

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with pretry
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for pretry

Difficulty index for try

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pretry

Scrabble Words With Friends