trial and error


noun

experimentation or investigation in which various methods or means are tried and faulty ones eliminated in order to find the correct solution or to achieve the desired result or effect.

Nearby words

  1. triad,
  2. triad syndrome,
  3. triadelphous,
  4. triage,
  5. trial,
  6. trial balance,
  7. trial balloon,
  8. trial by battle,
  9. trial by fire,
  10. trial court

Origin of trial and error

First recorded in 1800–10

Related formstri·al-and-er·ror, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trial and error


British Dictionary definitions for trial and error

trial and error

noun

a method of discovery, solving problems, etc, based on practical experiment and experience rather than on theoryhe learned to cook by trial and error
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

Culture definitions for trial and error

trial and error

To “proceed by trial and error” is to experiment, rejecting what does not work and adopting what does.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with trial and error

trial and error

An attempt to accomplish something by trying various means until the correct one is found. for example, The only way to solve this problem is by trial and error. The error here alludes to the failed means or attempts, which are discarded until the right way is found. [c. 1800]

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