trial balloon

noun

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 Pac-12 recently floated a trial balloon in regard to 9 a.m. football kickoffs. oregonlive.com, "Oregon State football, basketball, baseball, Reser Stadium updates and more: a Q-and-A with athletic director Scott Barnes:," 7 Aug. 2019 Lawmakers have floated trial balloons in an attempt to find the right combination of changes that will translate into a winning majority, but consensus remains out of reach. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "As the summer wears on, legislators and Gov. Lamont are still searching for a compromise on tolls," 21 July 2019 While the driving ban was lifted by official decree, news of the guardianship change was leaked as a trial balloon—first to the Saudi newspaper Okaz and then to foreign outlets. The Economist, "Saudi Arabia weighs loosening more controls on women," 18 July 2019 Their remarks appeared to be a trial balloon to test how much opposition a formal nomination would face. Ernesto Londoño, New York Times, "Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S.," 12 July 2019 But at the regents’ midsummer meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, university officials will float a trial balloon to see what the governing board thinks. Nanette Asimov, SFChronicle.com, "University of California looks at changing how it raises tuition — and who’d get the higher bills," 17 July 2019 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

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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Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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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

noun

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

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