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

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 infinitivetry to fix the car
2a : to put to test or trial try one's luck often used with outtry 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 In Snow White, jealousy drives the Evil Queen, who also has state power, to try to kill her stepdaughter; in Tangled, possessiveness drives Mother Gothel to kidnap the princess, who is the sole source of a Fountain of Youth-type magic. Jeanna Kadlec, Longreads, "Deconstructing Disney: Motherhood and the Taming of Maleficent," 8 Oct. 2020 And the students certainly were told to try to avoid those situations. Washington Post, "One Alabama university stayed safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Another, 60 miles away, struggled.," 8 Oct. 2020 The sheriff’s office then launched its own Aviation Unit to try to find the suspect. Carol Robinson |, al, "Alabama man charged with shining laser, spotlight at military aircraft," 8 Oct. 2020 When the opponent gets a runner on second base, Greinke prefers to signal his own pitches to Maldonado to try to speed up the process. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "What's up with Astros' Zack Greinke signaling his own pitches?," 8 Oct. 2020 Since the start of the pandemic, other high-profile donors have given money to try to fight the hunger crisis. Kate Krader,, "Craigslist Founder Is Donating $10 Million to Fight U.S. Hunger Crisis," 7 Oct. 2020 Here is a collection of places to go and activities to try to remind yourself that fall — even during a pandemic — is still fall. Angela Roberts,, "9 things to do in Maryland to get into the fall spirit while staying safe from the coronavirus," 7 Oct. 2020 Census workers in the Milwaukee area told the Journal Sentinel they had been sent out to try to count a dwindling number of households in the last two or three weeks. Sarah Volpenhein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After the Census is told to keep counting, some census workers told work is over," 7 Oct. 2020 At the same time, across the world in China, factories that make most of America’s medical supplies were shuttered as the country locked down to try to control its own outbreak. Anchorage Daily News, "US medical supply chains failed, and COVID deaths followed," 7 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meet Lloyd Robinson, the Carver signal caller who had to be persuaded a year ago to give tackle football a try. Chris Dabe,, "He went from ‘P.E. all-American’ to winning high school quarterback; Carver tops McDonogh 35," 8 Oct. 2020 Understandably, Kayden was around the sport a lot and decided to give it a try. Gary Curreri,, "Delray Beach teen looking to climb the USTA Florida rankings," 2 Oct. 2020 Whatever the case, Mayor London Breed, who says the situation in the Tenderloin has never been worse, is ready to give it a try. Phil Matier,, "S.F.’s campaign against Tenderloin drug sales — dealers have seen it before," 27 Sep. 2020 The Twins have lost to the Yankees in a five-game series (five times) and a one-game playoff (2017), so why not give a three-game series a try? Michael Rand, Star Tribune, "Twins starting pitching is set up for a trip to World Series if ...," 22 Sep. 2020 Keeping busy at home is so important these days, and this group is sure to inspire you to give it a try., "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 18 Sep. 2020 Perhaps your readers can give this solar bleaching method a try! Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Rescues need fosters to ready a pet for its ‘forever home’," 19 Sep. 2020 Keeping busy at home is so important these days, and this group is sure to inspire you to give it a try., "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 18 Sep. 2020 One only has to turn to the Amazon reviewers for even more reasons to give Swedish dishcloths a try. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "Amazon shoppers are obsessed with these reusable Swedish dishcloths," 17 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for try

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for try

Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Try.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for try


How to pronounce try (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of try

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make an effort to do something : to attempt to accomplish or complete something
: to do or use (something) in order to see if it works or will be successful
: to do or use (something) in order to find out if you like it



English Language Learners Definition of try (Entry 2 of 2)

: an effort or attempt to do something
rugby : a play in which points are scored by touching the ground with the ball behind the opponent's goal line


\ 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


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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

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