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 Early forecasts of major policy proposals on the horizon, aka the grand tradition of the Washington trial balloon? Washington Post, "The Trump White House provided reporters with a gusher of leaks. With Biden, everything’s changed.," 6 Apr. 2021 Pound's trial balloon landed with a thud felt far from Ottawa, and with good reason. Tim Dahlberg, Star Tribune, "Column: Athletes can get in line for vaccines like everyone," 28 Jan. 2021 The county floated a trial balloon during the March primary, creating four satellite voting centers that were open on Election Day and three days prior. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "All-mail ballots and multiple-day voting centers may be here to stay," 7 Nov. 2020 The idea that Trump could try to delegitimize votes that need to be counted after Election Night by prematurely declaring himself the official winner wafted across the nation Sunday like a dirigible-sized trial balloon. Bill Carter For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "The media has combatted dangerous claims for four years. Tuesday will be the ultimate test," 2 Nov. 2020 The plan wasn’t much of a formal proposal but a trial balloon launched by then-university president Joab Thomas. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Replace Bryant-Denny Stadium? Idea for Bessemer complex floated in 80s.," 1 Oct. 2020 Later in the call, Chapek seemed about to rule out the possibility this could be a trial balloon for future efforts but then stopped shy of making that commitment. Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post, "Disney revenue dropped more than $8 billion last quarter as pandemic took its toll," 4 Aug. 2020 Call it the trial balloon that launched a thousand punctures. Michael Mcgough Los Angeles Times (tns), Star Tribune, "There's nothing sinister about a vote count that lasts beyond election night," 3 Aug. 2020 The trial balloon on delaying the election was quickly shot down not only by Democrats but also by the top Republicans in Congress. Fox News, "Cotton stirs 2024 speculation with New Hampshire trip to help Republicans," 1 Aug. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of trial balloon was in 1935

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Statistics for trial balloon

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trial balloon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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.

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