Idioms

    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
SYNONYMS FOR try
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.
Related formspre·try, verb (used with object), pre·tried, pre·try·ing.re·try, verb, re·tried, re·try·ing.

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

Examples from the Web for try

British Dictionary definitions for try

try

/ (traɪ) /

verb tries, trying or tried

noun plural tries

See also try on, try out

Word Origin for try

C13: from Old French trier to sort, sift, of uncertain origin

usage

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
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

Word Origin and History for try

try


v.

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

Medicine definitions for try

Try


abbr.

tryptophan
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with try

try


In addition to the idioms beginning with try

  • try on
  • try one's hand
  • try one's patience
  • try out

also see:

  • old college try

Also see undertried.

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