\ˈtrī \
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 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

c : demonstrate, prove

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

strain, stretch, tax, test

Synonyms: Noun

attempt, bid, crack, endeavor, essay, fling, go, offer, pass, shot, stab, trial, whack, whirl

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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


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.


was granted another try at the field goal
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To try to answer that question, a team of German bioengineers surgically installed coiled strips of optical fibers in the ears of deaf gerbils. Justin Chen, STAT, "Pulses of light restored hearing in gerbils. Could that lead to higher-tech cochlear implants?," 11 July 2018 Our guys always go out and try to win and today wasn't the day. Juan Pimiento,, "10-man Chicago Fire drop their 3rd straight against FC Dallas," 14 July 2018 The case took a turn when a second person in Oceanside tried to commit identity theft against the same man whose identity Anduaga had stolen in 1983. Alex Riggins,, "Man who stole government benefits for 37 years is sentenced to 37 months in federal prison," 14 July 2018 Are Grande and Davidson trying to rub our common faces in their blissful love life? Meagan Fredette,, "Are Justin Bieber & Ariana Grande Trying To One-Up Each Other On PDA?," 14 July 2018 My arm is bleeding because the skin is trying to heal. Caitlin Wolper, Teen Vogue, "Virginia Teen Gets 3rd Degree Burns From Rare Weed," 14 July 2018 Some in Europe suspect that Trump is also trying to use the energy issue as a means of prolonging Europe’s dependence on the US – and perhaps even dominating it by aggravating divisions between Europe’s east and west. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "How strong a Europe does US want? In Trump era, that's still the issue.," 13 July 2018 But investors and analysts, along with a banker not involved in the bidding, don't expect Fox to sit idly by and try to seal a deal of its own. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, "What's Next in the Bidding War for Sky?," 13 July 2018 But most dangerously, leg injuries can lead to arm problems if pitchers try to compensate. New York Times, "Yankees, With No Lead to Protect Against the Indians, Get to Rest Aroldis Chapman," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As expected, Orlando’s foodies were not happy and local critics, chefs and other food professionals lambasted Zimmern’s comments and politely implored the traveling food expert to give some local restaurants another try. Kyle Arnold,, "Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmern apologizes for dissing Orlando culinary scene," 18 June 2018 So, when Capitals star Alex Ovechkin threw the first pitch at Saturday's Nationals game way over Max Scherzer's head, not many people were resisting giving him another try. Nihal Kolur,, "Watch: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals Throw Out First Pitch at Nationals Game," 9 June 2018 Caforio is back for another try, and has labor and progressive backing, but nonprofit advocate Katie Hall is being backed by EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "There Is a Lot at Stake in California’s Primaries Today," 5 June 2018 Meanwhile, Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik are giving their young relationship another try. Allie Jones, The Cut, "Audrina Patridge Is Dating Ryan Cabrera Again!," 1 May 2018 Though opposition to pilot programs and legislation have foiled and ultimately stalled needle exchange plans in recent years, officials with the local task force set up to combat the opioid epidemic are planning to give it another try. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "DA office’s support gives opioid task force green light to pursue needle exchange program," 25 Apr. 2018 If there had been no parking, the delivery car would have gone around the block for another try — leaving the hungry Perry waiting. Rob Wile, miamiherald, "Brickell pizza lovers get an unexpected side order: a robot," 13 Apr. 2018 Initial efforts at nonviolent protest had disintegrated into chaos, but King returned to Memphis in early April for another try. Chris Granger,, "Easter sunrise service along the Mississippi River: Photo gallery," 1 Apr. 2018 The thing is, there are ways to write the story that meet the standards of both professionalism and humanity, but no one nails it on the first try. Bob Ford,, "Annapolis newspaper shooting hits home for this writer, because all of us in journalism have been there | Bob Ford," 29 June 2018

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

Transitive verb

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

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Statistics for try

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for try

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

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More Definitions for try



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 \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on try

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for try

Spanish Central: Translation of try

Nglish: Translation of try for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on try

What made you want to look up try? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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