\ ˈtrī How to pronounce try (audio) \
tried; trying

Essential Meaning of try

1 : to make an effort to do something : to attempt to accomplish or complete something I don't know if I can do it, but I'll try. Keep trying. You can do it. See More ExamplesYou can do it if you try hard enough. "He said he can beat you." "I'd like to see him try!" I tried, but I just couldn't do it. "She's not in the office now." "OK. I'll try again later." If you don't succeed the first time, try, (and) try again. He still hasn't found a job, but it is not for lack/want of trying. [=he has been trying to find a job but he has not found one] I tried my best/hardest [=I tried very hard, I did everything that I could do], but I just couldn't do it.Hide
2 : to do or use (something) in order to see if it works or will be successful I don't know where she is. Try calling her on her cell phone. Try her cell phone. See More ExamplesHe tried a few things to remove the stain, but nothing worked. Try (pressing) that button. Did you try restarting the computer? If you want to lose weight, try exercising more. She tried a karate move on him. He tried the switch, and the lights flickered on. I tried (opening) the door, but it was locked. No, we don't sell those. Try the store across the street. I tried several hotels, but there were no rooms available.Hide
3 : to do or use (something) in order to find out if you like it He never wants to try anything new. I tried skiing for the first time last winter. Have you ever tried teaching?

Full Definition of try

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make an attempt you can do it if you try

transitive verb

1 : to make an attempt at often used with an infinitive try to fix the car
2a : to put to test or trial try one's luck often used with out try out a new method
b : to subject to something (such as undue strain or excessive hardship or provocation) that tests the powers of endurance
3a : to examine or investigate judicially try a case
b(1) : to conduct the trial of
(2) : to participate as counsel in the judicial examination of
4a : to melt down and procure in a pure state : render try out whale oil from blubber
b obsolete : purify, refine
5 : to fit or finish with accuracy
try one's hand
: to attempt something for the first time


plural tries

Definition of try (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an experimental trial : attempt succeeded on the first try
2 : a play in rugby that is similar to a touchdown in football, scores usually five points, and entitles the scoring side to attempt a placekick at the goal for additional points also : the score made on a try

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Synonyms for try

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for try


afflict, try, torment, torture, rack mean to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear. afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress. ills that afflict the elderly try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control. children often try their parents' patience torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance. a horse tormented by flies torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering. tortured by a sense of guilt rack stresses straining or wrenching. a body racked by pain

attempt, try, endeavor, essay, strive mean to make an effort to accomplish an end. attempt stresses the initiation or beginning of an effort. will attempt to photograph the rare bird try is often close to attempt but may stress effort or experiment made in the hope of testing or proving something. tried to determine which was the better procedure endeavor heightens the implications of exertion and difficulty. endeavored to find crash survivors in the mountains essay implies difficulty but also suggests tentative trying or experimenting. will essay a dramatic role for the first time strive implies great exertion against great difficulty and specifically suggests persistent effort. continues to strive for peace

Examples of try in a Sentence

Verb I don't know if I can do it, but I'll try. Keep trying. You can do it. You can do it if you try hard enough. “He said he can beat you.” “I'd like to see him try!” I tried, but I just couldn't do it. “She's not in the office now.” “OK. I'll try again later.” I don't know where she is. Try calling her on her cell phone. He tried a few things to remove the stain, but nothing worked. Did you try restarting the computer? If you want to lose weight, try exercising more. Noun was granted another try at the field goal
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The report released Wednesday could finally resolve the question of whether the state will try to bill Medicaid again., 7 Sep. 2021 At Mazzanti's request, Miller ruled that Loadholdt, who has been a fugitive since 2017, will be severed from the trial, enabling prosecutors to try him separately when and if he is located. Dale Ellis, Arkansas Online, 6 Sep. 2021 On Saturday, number one seed Novak Djokovic is in action versus Kei Nishikori, who will try to keep the upset magic going. USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2021 Biden, as his allies will note, still has plenty of time to rebound before the 2022 midterm elections, when his party will try to hold its narrow majorities in the House and Senate. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 3 Sep. 2021 With Delpit sidelined, Ronnie Harrison Jr. nailed down the starting strong safety job opposite John Johnson III, and will try to improve on his performance from last season, when he was acquired in a trade with the Jaguars in September. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, 2 Sep. 2021 The talks are taking place ahead of the United Nations climate change conference, COP26, to be held in Scotland in November, when nations will try to agree on cuts to carbon emissions. Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2021 In that case, so does Meyer who will try disproving the theory that college coaches can’t win in the NFL. Rob Reischel, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 That’s just one of the ways that Instagram will try to sway you to share your birthday. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 30 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But give family counseling a try before calling it quits. Annie Lane, oregonlive, 5 Sep. 2021 But give family counseling a try before calling it quits. cleveland, 5 Sep. 2021 Dug Days will give it a try, offering a season of short adventures from Dug’s perspective. Keith Phipps, Rolling Stone, 2 Sep. 2021 But his parents didn’t encourage him to give the sport a try. Bob Narang,, 17 Aug. 2021 People in these jobs often become better at them with time and experience, while others may give them a try and find that they’re not cut out for the work. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 13 Aug. 2021 Give taco night a try and share your dinner with us in the comments or on our social channels:, @ThermadorHome and @Thermador. Time, 12 Aug. 2021 The steak cooking competition is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 14, in downtown Bel Air and is open to anyone willing to give it a try, but is limited to 50 teams. Matt Button,, 6 Aug. 2021 With all that out in the open, things seem just fine between them, especially after Roy agrees to give Sky Sports a try. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 6 Aug. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3a


1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for try


Middle English trien, from Anglo-French trier to select, sort, examine, determine, probably from Late Latin tritare to grind, frequentative of Latin terere to rub — more at throw entry 1

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Learn More About try

Time Traveler for try

Time Traveler

The first known use of try was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near try



try as one might

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Try.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for try


\ ˈtrī How to pronounce try (audio) \
tried\ ˈtrīd \; trying

Kids Definition of try

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make an effort or attempt at He tries to remain calm. Try calling her.
2 : to put to a test Have you ever tried artichokes? You might try this key in the lock.
3 : to examine or investigate in a court of law They were tried for murder.
4 : to conduct the trial of An experienced judge will try the case.
5 : to test to the limit The children are trying my patience.
try on
: to put on (a garment) to test the fit
try out
: to compete to fill a part (as on an athletic team or in a play)


plural tries

Kids Definition of try (Entry 2 of 2)

: an effort to do something : attempt It took several tries, but I finally scored.



Medical Definition of Try



transitive verb
tried; trying

Legal Definition of try

1 : to examine or investigate judicially no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common lawU.S. Constitution amend. VII in an action tried on the facts without a juryFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 52(a)
2 : to conduct the trial of : put on trial
3 : to participate as lawyer or counsel in the trial of : bring to trial on behalf of a client was unqualified to try death penalty cases

History and Etymology for try

Anglo-French trier to choose, sort, ascertain, examine judicially, from Old French, to choose, sort

More from Merriam-Webster on try

Nglish: Translation of try for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of try for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about try


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