verb (used with object), tried, try·ing.
- to determine the truth or right of (a quarrel or question) by test or battle (sometimes followed by out).
- to find to be right by test or experience.
verb (used without object), tried, try·ing.
noun, plural tries.
- truth-value gap,
- try line,
- try on,
- try one's hand,
- try one's patience,
- try out
- to put on airs: She's been trying it on ever since the inheritance came through.
- 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
verb tries, trying or tried
- to examine and determine the issues involved in (a cause) in a court of law
- to hear evidence in order to determine the guilt or innocence of (an accused)
- to sit as judge at the trial of (an issue or person)
noun plural tries
Word Origin for try
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.
Undergo a qualifying test, as for an athletic team. For example, I'm trying out for the basketball team. [Mid-1900s]
Test or use experimentally, as in They're trying out new diesels, or We're trying out this new margarine. [Late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with try
- try on
- try one's hand
- try one's patience
- try out
- old college try
Also see undertried.