\ 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 Water runoff from the pad, likely from trying to extinguish the blaze, could be seen along with a host of vehicles parked nearby. Washington Post, "Satellite photos show burning Iran space center launch pad," 29 Aug. 2019 Craft beers from Nashville’s Bearded Iris Brewing and Jackalope will do little to dull the burn, though that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Lardo will serve its regular menu inside, and plans to return the favor with a Nashville pop-up this fall. Michael Russell | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Hattie B.’s will bring its Nashville hot chicken to Portland next month," 29 Aug. 2019 And yet this does not stop certain individuals from trying to sell masculinity to men at a great price. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Being a “Real Man” Will Kill You," 29 Aug. 2019 After years of trying, Red Bull Salzburg has finally made the group stage for the first time since 1994-95, long before it was taken over by the energy drink company. Jonathan Wilson,, "Predictions, Group Breakdowns After the 2019-20 Champions League Draw," 29 Aug. 2019 So are such options as trying to revoke the Article 50 Brexit application, for which there is much less support in Parliament. The Economist, "Boris Johnson suspends Parliament, causing uproar," 29 Aug. 2019 Israel accuses Iran of trying to establish an overland arms-supply line through Iraq and northern Syria to Lebanon. Ben Hubbard, New York Times, "The Israel-Iran Shadow War Escalates and Breaks Into the Open," 29 Aug. 2019 Adam also talks about a guard, already charged with criminal abuse of an inmate, who now stands charged with trying to extort fellow guards into giving false testimony for him., "Outrage over Dave Yost’s cash grab, anti-China baiting, an unprecedented tax giveaway, City Council expenses and a jail guard drug ring: This Week in the CLE," 29 Aug. 2019 Rex Huppke would like to issue an apology on behalf of the Fake News Media for trying to crash Trump’s economy by accurately reporting on it. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: A look at Lightfoot’s first 100 days, tens of thousands of Cook County pot convictions will be automatically expunged and other things to know to start your day," 28 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fourth-round QB James Morgan was worth a try given the team's season was scuttled last year by Darnold's three-game absence while fighting mononucleosis. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL draft grades 2020: Ravens, Vikings nab top team hauls while Packers, Eagles confound," 27 Apr. 2020 That’s an institution—and what better year for Valve to give this a try, eh? Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Valve supplants E3 with its third all-digital Steam Game Festival—and this one could be huge," 13 Apr. 2020 Especially as hospitals start getting concerned about dwindling supplies of equipment such as ventilators, anything that can prevent patients declining from mild to severe disease is worth a try. Alice Park, Time, "President Trump Called Hydroxychloroquine a 'Game Changer,' But Experts Warn Against Self-Medicating With the Drug. Here’s What You Need to Know," 24 Mar. 2020 To which the county sheriff said, yeah, nice try, and ordered the plant shut. Matt Simon, Wired, "If Robots Steal So Many Jobs, Why Aren't They Saving Us Now?," 23 Mar. 2020 And for a second try, go to the comments here or on Facebook to chat with other readers. The Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax Live: We'll be right. Here.," 20 Mar. 2020 The first primary victory of Biden's long political career, dating back to his first run for president in 1988 and through a subsequent try in 2008, is an enormous one. Rick Klein, ABC News, "Commanding Biden win in South Carolina resets and recasts primary race: ANALYSIS," 29 Feb. 2020 Our music kind of tries to embody that in a sort of metaphysical way. Katie Bain, Billboard, "'Dexter' Actor Michael C. Hall on His New Dance Music Trio: 'All Roads Seem Like They Were Leading to This'," 7 Feb. 2020 The Magic will try to beat the Raptors for the first time in three tries this season. Roy Parry,, "Magic forward Aaron Gordon could return tonight against Raptors," 28 Nov. 2019

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

Cite this Entry

“Try.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 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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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

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