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verb, \ˈtrī\

Simple Definition of try

  • : to make an effort to do something : to attempt to accomplish or complete something

  • : to do or use (something) in order to see if it works or will be successful

  • : to do or use (something) in order to find out if you like it

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of try


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to examine or investigate judicially <try a case>b (1) :  to conduct the trial of (2) :  to participate as counsel in the judicial examination of

  3. 2a :  to put to test or trial <try one's luck> —often used with out <try out a new method>b :  to subject to something (as undue strain or excessive hardship or provocation) that tests the powers of endurancec :  demonstrate, prove

  4. 3a obsolete :  purify, refineb :  to melt down and procure in a pure state :  render <try out whale oil from blubber>

  5. 4 :  to fit or finish with accuracy

  6. 5 :  to make an attempt at —often used with an infinitive <try to fix the car>

  7. intransitive verb
  8. :  to make an attempt <you can do it if you try>

try one's hand
  1. :  to attempt something for the first time

Examples of try in a sentence

  1. I don't know if I can do it, but I'll try.

  2. Keep trying. You can do it.

  3. You can do it if you try hard enough.

  4. He said he can beat you. I'd like to see him try!

  5. I tried, but I just couldn't do it.

  6. She's not in the office now. OK. I'll try again later.

  7. I don't know where she is. Try calling her on her cell phone.

  8. He tried a few things to remove the stain, but nothing worked.

  9. Did you try restarting the computer?

  10. If you want to lose weight, try exercising more.

Origin of try

Middle English trien, from Anglo-French trier to select, sort, examine, determine, probably from Late Latin tritare to grind, frequentative of Latin terere to rub — more at throw

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of try

afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress <ills that afflict the elderly>. try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control <children often try their parents' patience>. torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance <a horse tormented by flies>. torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering <tortured by a sense of guilt>. rack stresses straining or wrenching <a body racked by pain>.

attempt, try, endeavor, essay, strive mean to make an effort to accomplish an end. attempt stresses the initiation or beginning of an effort <will attempt to photograph the rare bird>. try is often close to attempt but may stress effort or experiment made in the hope of testing or proving something <tried to determine which was the better procedure>. endeavor heightens the implications of exertion and difficulty <endeavored to find crash survivors in the mountains>. essay implies difficulty but also suggests tentative trying or experimenting <will essay a dramatic role for the first time>. strive implies great exertion against great difficulty and specifically suggests persistent effort <continues to strive for peace>.




Simple Definition of try

  • : an effort or attempt to do something

  • rugby : a play in which points are scored by touching the ground with the ball behind the opponent's goal line

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of try

plural tries

  1. 1 :  an experimental trial :  attempt <succeeded on the first try>

  2. 2 :  a play in rugby that is similar to a touchdown in football, scores usually five points, and entitles the scoring side to attempt a placekick at the goal for additional points; also :  the score made on a try

Examples of try in a sentence

  1. <was granted another try at the field goal>


First Known Use of try


TRY Defined for Kids



verb \ˈtrī\

Definition of try for Students

tried \ˈtrīd\trying

  1. 1 :  to make an effort or attempt at <He tries to remain calm.> <Try calling her.>

  2. 2 :  to put to a test <Have you ever tried artichokes?> <You might try this key in the lock.>

  3. 3 :  to examine or investigate in a court of law <They were tried for murder.>

  4. 4 :  to conduct the trial of <An experienced judge will try the case.>

  5. 5 :  to test to the limit <The children are trying my patience.>

try on
  1. :  to put on (a garment) to test the fit

try out
  1. :  to compete to fill a part (as on an athletic team or in a play)




Definition of try for Students

plural tries

  1. :  an effort to do something :  attempt <It took several tries, but I finally scored.>

Medical Dictionary



Medical Definition of Try

  1. tryptophan

Law Dictionary


transitive verb

Legal Definition of try


  1. 1 :  to examine or investigate judicially <no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law — U.S. Constitution amend. VII> <in an action tried on the facts without a jury — Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 52(a)>

  2. 2 :  to conduct the trial of :  put on trial

  3. 3 :  to participate as lawyer or counsel in the trial of :  bring to trial on behalf of a client <was unqualified to try death penalty cases>

Origin of try

Anglo-French trier to choose, sort, ascertain, examine judicially, from Old French, to choose, sort

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up try? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

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