trial balloon


Definition of trial balloon

: a project or scheme tentatively announced in order to test public opinion

Examples of trial balloon in a Sentence

She's been floating trial balloons about a possible run for Congress.

Recent Examples on the Web

The Present: Intelligence officials say the 2016 attack was a trial balloon—a way for hackers to assess lingering holes in state voting systems waiting to be ripped open. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "If the 2018 Election Is Hacked, This Is How It Will Happen," 5 Nov. 2018 Given that logic, the best approach might be to ignore Trump’s trial balloon (so stop reading!). Aziz Huq, Vox, "The faulty legal logic behind Trump’s birthright citizenship proposal.," 31 Oct. 2018 Despite recent trial balloons from Gulf Cooperation Council regimes and talk of normalization, 87 percent of Arab respondents still disapprove of their home countries recognizing Israel. Dana El Kurd, Washington Post, "On Israel’s 70th anniversary, what does the region think?," 15 May 2018 Our fears that the crackdown on gay rights was merely a trial balloon aimed to see how far Putin could go without meaningful opposition from the West have proven to be true. Yelena Goltsman, Vox, "This World Cup, let’s talk about Russia’s LGBTIQ rights record," 15 June 2018 The same would hold true if the Pads, as has been floated via trial balloon, were to embrace red, white and blue. Tom Krasovic,, "What stubborn Padres can learn from SDSU retaining Aztecs affiliation," 18 May 2018 Minor League Baseball announced aggressive pace-of-play rules changes for 2018 that may merely be pragmatic solutions to its unique roster situations - or a trial balloon for eventual change at the major league level. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "Sweeping changes for minor league baseball games include extra-inning runner at 2nd," 14 Mar. 2018 If that was a trial balloon for anything more than an effort to discredit Mueller's eventual findings, the President got a swift answer as several senior GOP senators warned that trying to rid himself of the Mueller probe would be disastrous. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Mueller pens Trump in as he slips restraints elsewhere," 20 Mar. 2018 But then the White House publicly struck down the trial balloon. Deirdre Walsh, CNN, "The race to fund the government is on (again)," 18 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trial balloon.' 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 balloon

1935, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for trial balloon

The first known use of trial balloon was in 1935

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More Definitions for trial balloon

trial balloon


English Language Learners Definition of trial balloon

: something that you do or say in order to find out what people think about an idea, plan, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on trial balloon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trial balloon

Comments on trial balloon

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to move or proceed with twists and turns

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