trial and error

noun

Definition of trial and error 

: a finding out of the best way to reach a desired result or a correct solution by trying out one or more ways or means and by noting and eliminating errors or causes of failure also : the trying of one thing or another until something succeeds

Examples of trial and error in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

After considerable trial and error, my sister did end up finishing up the wax. Eve Peyser, Good Housekeeping, "I Tried to Wax My Own Bikini Line — And It Was a Disaster," 14 Jan. 2016 After 12 months of trial and error, the system, which soared back to life in the Premier League as Chelsea were crowned champions in 2017, was beginning to bear fruit for England. SI.com, "90Min World Cup Fan Diaries: Starting to Believe," 8 July 2018 Did the fragility of tissue paper require copious trial and error? Jacoba Urist, Smithsonian, "Maya Freelon’s Immersive and Interactive Sculptures Bring Tissue Paper to Life," 21 June 2018 Saoirse Ronan gives a virtuoso performance as a high-school teen who is learning this through trial and error. Jennifer Vineyard, New York Times, "The Best TV Shows and Movies New to Netflix, Amazon and More in June," 1 June 2018 Chef Colin Wakeling had no experience with Italian food, but a process of trial and error led him to make some delicious meals at Ciao. Nancy Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Ciao Ristorante is Italian food with the ultimate Sicilian twist," 3 July 2018 Of course, not every curl cocktail works for everyone and finding one that's best for your hair can take a bit of trial and error. Jihan Forbes, Allure, "Five Editors Reveal Their Favorite Combinations of Curly-Hair Products," 2 July 2018 That experience — working alone, through trial and error, grabbing whatever instrument best suits the song and stacking layers of vocals, relying only on your ears and tastes to guide you — does funny things to a musician. Michael Hamad, courant.com, "If You Haven't Heard Of Musician Jonathan Something, You Will Soon," 5 July 2018 DeepMind’s researchers used a method of AI training that’s also becoming standard: reinforcement learning, which is basically training by trial and error at a huge scale. James Vincent, The Verge, "DeepMind’s AI agents exceed ‘human-level’ gameplay in Quake III," 4 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trial and error.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trial and error

1806, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

29 Aug 2018

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The first known use of trial and error was in 1806

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