Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of Try
Meaning of try by Wiktionary Dictionary


    frequency based on Project Gutenberg corpus">Most common English words: standing « books « knows « #622: try » loved » deal » distance


    From Middle English trien ( legal term, “to try a case” ), from Anglo-Norman trier ( “to try a case” ), Old French trier ( “to choose, pick out or separate from others, sift, cull” ), of uncertain origin. Believed to be a metathetic variation of Old French tirer ( “to pull out, snatch” ), of Germanic origin, from Gothic * ( tiran, “to tear away, remove” ), from Proto-Germanic *tiranan, *tirōjanan ( “to tear, tear apart” ), from Proto-Germanic *derə- ( “to tear, tear apart” ), see tear; or from an unattested Proto-Romance *triare, of unknown origin .

    Replaced native Middle English cunnen ( “to try” ) ( from Old English cunnian ), Middle English fandien ( “to try, prove” ) ( from Old English fandian ), and Middle English costnien ( “to try, tempt, test” ) ( from Old English costnian ) .


    • enPR: trī, IPA: /traɪ/, SAMPA: /traI/
    • Rhymes: -aɪ


    to try ( third-person singular simple present tries present participle trying, simple past and past participle tried )

    1. To attempt. Followed by infinitive .
      I tried to rollerblade, but I couldn’t .
      I'll come to dinner soon. I'm trying to beat this level first .
    2. ( obsolete ) To separate ( precious metal etc. ) from the ore by melting; to purify, refine.
    3. To make an experiment. Usually followed by a present participle .
      I tried mixing more white paint to get a lighter shade .
    4. To work on something .
      You are trying too hard .
    5. To put to test .
      I shall try my skills on this
    6. To taste, sample, etc .
      Try this—you’ll love it .
    7. To put on trial .
      He was tried and executed .
    8. To tire .
      You are trying my patience .
    9. ( nautical ) To lie to in heavy weather under just sufficient sail to head into the wind .

    Usage notes


    • ( to attempt ): attempt
    • ( to taste, sample, etc ): sample, taste

    Derived terms

    Related terms


    try ( plural: tries )

    1. An attempt .
      I gave unicycling a try but I couldn’t do it .
    2. An act of tasting or sampling .
      I gave sushi a try but I didn’t like it .
    3. ( rugby ) A score in rugby, analogous to a touchdown in American football .
      Today I scored my first try .


    Derived terms


    • Tyr

Explanation of try by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. put on a garment in order to see whether it fits and looks nice

    2. Try on this sweater to see how it looks
    3. melt ( fat or lard ) in order to separate out impurities

    4. try the yak butter
    5. take a sample of

    6. Try these new crackers
    7. test the limits of

    8. You are trying my patience!
    9. give pain or trouble to

    10. I've been sorely tried by these students
    11. examine or hear ( evidence or a case ) by judicial process

    12. The case will be tried in California
    13. put on trial or hear a case and sit as the judge at the trial of

    14. The football star was tried for the murder of his wife
      The judge tried both father and son in separate trials
    15. make an effort or attempt

    16. He tried to shake off his fears
    17. put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to

    18. This approach has been tried with good results
    1. earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something

    2. she gave it a good try

    Definition of try by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Try v. t. [imp. & p. p. tried ; p. pr. & vb. n. Trying.] [OE. trien to select, pick out, F. trier to cull, to out, LL. tritare to triturate ( hence the sense of, to thresh, to separate the grain from the straw, to select ), L. terere, tritum, to rub, bruise, grind, thresh. See Trite.]
      1. To divide or separate, as one sort from another; to winnow; to sift; to pick out; -- frequently followed by out; as, “to try out the wild corn from the good”. [Obs.] Sir T. Elyot.

      2. To purify or refine, as metals; to melt out, and procure in a pure state, as oil, tallow, lard, etc. Shak.

      The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Ps. xii. 6.

      For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Ps. lxvi. 10.

      3. To prove by experiment; to apply a test to, for the purpose of determining the quality; to examine; to prove; to test; as, “to try weights or measures by a standard; to try a man's opinions”.

      Let the end try the man. Shak.

      4. To subject to severe trial; to put to the test; to cause suffering or trouble to.

      Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased. Milton.

      These are the times that try men's souls. Thomas Paine ( 1776 )

      5. To experiment with; to test by use; as, “to try a remedy for disease; to try a horse”.

      Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me. Shak.

      To ease her cares the force of sleep she tries. Swift.

      6. To strain; to subject to excessive tests; as, “the light tries his eyes”; repeated disappointments try one's patience.

      7. ( Law ) To examine or investigate judicially; to examine by witnesses or other judicial evidence and the principles of law; as, “to try a cause, or a criminal”.

      8. To settle; to decide; to determine; specifically, to decide by an appeal to arms; as, “to try rival claims by a duel; to try conclusions”.

      Left I the court, to see this quarrel tried. Shak.

      9. To experience; to have or gain knowledge of by experience. Milton.

      Or try the Libyan heat or Scythian cold. Dryden.

      10. To essay; to attempt; to endeavor.

      Let us try . . . to found a path. Milton.

      To try on. To put on, as a garment, to ascertain whether it fits the person. To attempt; to undertake. [Slang] Dickens.

      Syn. -- To attempt; endeavor; strive; aim; examine. -- Try, Attempt. To try is the generic, to attempt is the specific, term. When we try, we are usually uncertain as to success; when we attempt, we have always some definite object in view which we seek to accomplish. We may be indifferent as to the result of a trial, but we rarely attempt anything without a desire to succeed.

      He first deceased: she for a little tried

      To live without him; liked it not, and died. Sir H. Wotton.

      Alack, I am afraid they have a waked,

      And 't is not done. The attempt, and not the deed,

      Confounds us. Shak.

    2. Try v. i.
      1. To exert strength; to endeavor; to make an effort or an attempt; as, “you must try hard if you wish to learn”.

      2. To do; to fare; as, “how do you try”! [Prov. Eng.]

    3. Try, n.
      1. A screen, or sieve, for grain. [Obs. or Prov. Eng.] Holland.

      2. Act of trying; attempt; experiment; trial.

      This breaking of his has been but a try for his friends. Shak.

      3. In Rugby and Northern Union football, a score ( counting three points ) made by grounding the ball on or behind the opponent's goal line; -- so called because it entitles the side making it to a place kick for a goal ( counting two points more if successful ).

    4. Try, a. [Cf. Try, v. t.] Refined; select; excellent; choice. [Obs.] “Sugar that is try.” Chaucer.