[ trahy-uhl, trahyl ]
See synonyms for: trialtrials on

  1. Law.

    • the examination before a judicial tribunal of the facts put in issue in a cause, often including issues of law as well as those of fact.

    • the determination of a person's guilt or innocence by due process of law.

  2. the act of trying, testing, or putting to the proof.

  1. test; proof.

  2. an attempt or effort to do something.

  3. a tentative or experimental action in order to ascertain results; experiment.

  4. the state or position of a person or thing being tried or tested; probation.

  5. subjection to suffering or grievous experiences; a distressed or painful state: comfort in the hour of trial.

  6. an affliction or trouble.

  7. a trying, distressing, or annoying thing or person.

  8. Ceramics. a piece of ceramic material used to try the heat of a kiln and the progress of the firing of its contents.

  1. of, relating to, or employed in a trial.

  2. done or made by way of trial, proof, or experiment.

  1. used in testing, experimenting, etc.

  2. acting or serving as a sample, experimental specimen, etc.: a trial offer.

Idioms about trial

  1. on trial,

    • undergoing examination before a judicial tribunal.

    • undergoing a probationary or trial period.

Origin of trial

First recorded in 1520–30; try + -al2

synonym study For trial

2, 3, 5. Trial , experiment , test imply an attempt to find out something or to find out about something. Trial is the general word for a trying of anything: articles sent for ten days' free trial. Experiment is a trial conducted to prove or illustrate the truth or validity of something, or an attempt to discover something new: an experiment in organic chemistry. Test is a more specific word, referring to a trial under approved and fixed conditions, or a final and decisive trial as a conclusion of past experiments: a test of a new type of airplane. 7. See affliction.

Other words for trial

Other words from trial

  • in·ter·tri·al, adjective
  • non·tri·al, noun
  • post·tri·al, adjective
  • re·tri·al, noun
  • self-trial, noun

Words that may be confused with trial

Words Nearby trial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use trial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trial (1 of 2)


/ (ˈtraɪəl, traɪl) /

    • the act or an instance of trying or proving; test or experiment

    • (as modifier): a trial run

  1. law

    • the judicial examination of the issues in a civil or criminal cause by a competent tribunal and the determination of these issues in accordance with the law of the land

    • the determination of an accused person's guilt or innocence after hearing evidence for the prosecution and for the accused and the judicial examination of the issues involved

    • (as modifier): trial proceedings

  1. an effort or attempt to do something: we had three trials at the climb

  2. trouble or grief

  3. an annoying or frustrating person or thing

  4. (often plural) a competition for individuals: sheepdog trials

  5. a motorcycling competition in which the skills of the riders are tested over rough ground

  6. ceramics a piece of sample material used for testing the heat of a kiln and its effects

  7. on trial

    • undergoing trial, esp before a court of law

    • being tested, as before a commitment to purchase

verbtrials, trialling or trialled
  1. (tr) to test or make experimental use of (something): the idea has been trialled in several schools

Origin of trial

C16: from Anglo-French, from trier to try

Derived forms of trial

  • trialling, noun

British Dictionary definitions for trial (2 of 2)


/ (ˈtraɪəl) /

  1. a grammatical number occurring in some languages for words in contexts where exactly three of their referents are described or referred to

  2. (modifier) relating to or inflected for this number

Origin of trial

C19: from tri- + -al 1

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with trial


In addition to the idioms beginning with trial

  • trial and error
  • trial balloon
  • trial by fire
  • trials and tribulations

also see:

  • on trial

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.