View synonyms for try


[ trahy ]

verb (used with object)

, tried, try·ing.
  1. to attempt to do or accomplish:

    Try it before you say it's simple.

  2. to test the effect or result of (often followed by out ):

    to try a new method; to try a recipe out.

  3. to endeavor to evaluate by experiment or experience:

    to try a new field; to try a new book.

  4. to test the quality, value, fitness, accuracy, etc., of:

    Will you try a spoonful of this and tell me what you think of it?

  5. Law. to examine and determine judicially, as a cause; determine judicially the guilt or innocence of (a person).
  6. to put to a severe test; subject to strain, as of endurance, patience, affliction, or trouble; tax:

    to try one's patience.

  7. to attempt to open (a door, window, etc.) in order to find out whether it is locked:

    Try all the doors before leaving.

  8. to melt down (fat, blubber, etc.) to obtain the oil; render (usually followed by out ).
  9. Archaic.
    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, try·ing.
  1. to make an attempt or effort; strive:

    Try to complete the examination.

  2. Nautical. to lie to in heavy weather under just sufficient sail to head into the wind.


, plural tries.
  1. an attempt or effort:

    to have a try at something.

  2. Rugby. a score of three points earned by advancing the ball to or beyond the opponents' goal line.

verb phrase

  1. 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.

  2. to compete for (a position, membership, etc.):

    Over a hundred boys came to try out for the football team.

  3. to use experimentally; test:

    to try out a new car.


/ traɪ /


  1. whentr, may take an infinitive, sometimes with to replaced by and to make an effort or attempt

    he tried to climb a cliff

  2. troften foll byout to sample, test, or give experimental use to (something) in order to determine its quality, worth, etc

    try her cheese flan

  3. tr to put strain or stress on

    he tries my patience

  4. tr; 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)
  5. tr to melt (fat, lard, etc) in order to separate out impurities
  6. obsolete.
    trusually foll byout to extract (a material) from an ore, mixture, etc, usually by heat; refine


  1. an experiment or trial
  2. an attempt or effort
  3. 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
  4. Also calledtry for a point American football 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

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Usage Note

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.

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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

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Other Words From

  • pre·try verb (used with object) pretried pretrying
  • re·try verb retried retrying

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Word History and Origins

Origin of try1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English trien “to try (a legal case),” from Anglo-French trier, Old French “to sift, cull”; of uncertain origin

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Word History and Origins

Origin of try1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. give it the old college try, Informal. to make a sincere effort:

    I gave it the old college try and finally found an apartment.

  2. 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 potential romantic partner:

      She avoided him after he'd tried it on with her.

More idioms and phrases containing try

  • old college try
  • tried

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

It was a nice try on Victory’s part, but touring riders tend to be a conservative bunch, many of whom still haven’t quite accepted the Vision’s aesthetic.

Below are a few tries from the right wing that highlight how broken the Rockets look when Harden wants to isolate against a defense that only feels like guarding three of his teammates.

If you're into that sort of thing, this might be a good chance to give the relatively new game a try at less than full price.

After a few tries, aided by the skills she’d picked up in the occasional coding class in college, she got the script to spit out a deepfake video.

So are uncontested corner 3-point tries, which have become more plentiful as teams scramble to stop penetrators at the last second.

Whatever the FBI says, the truthers will create alternative hypotheses that try to challenge the ‘official story.’

We try to avoid going away for too long, so we can check back in.

They were just way too aggressive to try and maintain on a farm here,” says Gow of his “Nazi cows.

“You try to always scratch where the itch is,” Huckabee said about his campaigning and rhetoric in the 2008 primary.

Their first attempt to unseat the House speaker failed miserably, so why not try again?

He shall pass into strange countries: for he shall try good and evil among men.

Given one more Division we might try: as things are, my troops won't cover the mileage.

These hills, if we have to mount them, shall sorely try the thews of horse and man.

Never grasp a Fern plant from above and try to pull it away, as this will be almost sure to result in damage.

But they soon fell out, for Murat had the audacity to try and make these patriots fight instead of merely seeking plunder.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




Truth will outtryhard