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trial balloon

a statement, program, or the like issued publicly as a means of determining reactions in advance:
The speech was a trial balloon for a new law.
Origin of trial balloon
First recorded in 1930-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for trial balloon

trial balloon

a tentative action or statement designed to test public opinion on a controversial matter Compare ballon d'essai
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
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trial balloon in Culture

trial balloon definition

A small campaign or test designed to gauge public response. The term originally referred to a balloon sent up to determine weather conditions: “The speech on free trade that the candidate delivered last month must have been a trial balloon; the audience reacted with hostility, and he has not mentioned the subject since.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for trial balloon

trial balloon


A test of how someone will react: set up a trial balloon and got the expected outcome

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with trial balloon

trial balloon

An idea or plan advanced tentatively to test public reaction, as in Let's send up a trial balloon for this new program before we commit ourselves. This expression alludes to sending up balloons to test weather conditions. [ c. 1930 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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