trial and error


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

This might take a little trial and error, but fear not: An errant staple can always be removed! 10. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "The Absolute Easiest Way to Reupholster Furniture," 4 Sep. 2019 Many couples take time and trial and error to find the best separate sleeping situations for them, since sleeping arrangements can be as individual as your relationship itself. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How a Sleep Divorce Can Improve Your Relationship," 29 Aug. 2019 The theoretical literature gave them little guidance, so the team engaged in a lengthy process of trial and error to find the right interface material. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "New Designs Could Boost Solar Cells Beyond Their Limits," 11 July 2019 Part of Recchio’s success has come through trial and error — learning from past setbacks to breed yellow-legged frogs. Los Angeles Times, "Meet the ‘rock star’ frog breeder vying to save Southern California’s rarest amphibian," 15 Aug. 2019 This is something that may have to be sorted out through trial and error. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk’s Neuralink: Both an evolution and a plan for radical change," 13 Aug. 2019 Re: Layman’s terms: What’s wrong with letting the kids figure it out themselves through trial and error? Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Is it cruel to give a child an unusual name?," 10 Aug. 2019 Re: Layman's terms: What's wrong with letting the kids figure it out themselves through trial and error? Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Mockers of children’s names, thy name is Arrogance," 9 Aug. 2019 Re: Layman’s terms: What's wrong with letting the kids figure it out themselves through trial and error? Carolyn Hax,, "Carolyn Hax: Think before you shoot off your mouth cannons over unusual children’s names," 9 Aug. 2019

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

12 Sep 2019

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The first known use of trial and error was in 1806

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to make a temporary encampment

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