\ 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 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

Synonyms for try

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One way to deal with shrinkflation is to try to stick with generic store brands because those tend to be the last to shrink. Cristina Lourosa-ricardo, WSJ, 21 May 2022 The girls will meet Liberty in a rematch of last year’s final at 6 p.m., while the boys will try to repeat as 1A champs at 8 p.m., taking on Southern-Anne Arundel. Randy Mcroberts, Baltimore Sun, 21 May 2022 Then comes the captain’s dinner, which plays like a Monty Python sketch, as the guests try to slurp oysters while a storm rocks the boat. Peter Debruge, Variety, 21 May 2022 Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute, told The New York Times that Erdogan would likely try to obtain promises for F-16s at the NATO summit in June. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 21 May 2022 My advice to you is to try to be as flexible as possible with family responsibilities, such as with starting and end times or accommodating things like childcare. Laurie Sewell, Forbes, 20 May 2022 One of their first tasks has been to try to figure out whether these cases of sudden and often severe liver damage in kids represent a true increase over past years. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 20 May 2022 One was to try to convey to the Europeans that skepticism about NATO itself, expressed by the previous president, was not the view of Republicans in the Senate. New York Times, 20 May 2022 In that case, your best bet is to try a retinol cream, which can potentially help with dark circles and fine lines that form in the under-eye area, Dr. Peredo says. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, 18 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Don't hesitate to give the Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Pillow a try. Emily Belfiore, Travel + Leisure, 8 May 2022 The Best of Beauty Award-winning Hanni Weighted Razor was designed to make replacing its blades a less intimidating experience, but that's only one of the reasons to give it a try. Isadora Baum, Allure, 5 May 2022 The private equity industry is flush with cash and has shown an increasing willingness to give shareholder activism a try. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 She Torbik and others with the program convinced her to give it a try. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Apr. 2022 Despite all of the negative reviews, fans of The Office might want to give the show a try. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 18 Apr. 2022 For just $50, plus two-day shipping, why not give it a try? Carly Kulzer,, 13 Apr. 2022 But honestly, one look at these—and a consecutive try-on session to follow—will lock you in as one of the best gift-givers out there. Dale Arden Chong, Men's Health, 21 Apr. 2022 In addition, the store has every big-name fitness brand, a try-on treadmill for running shoe shoppers, and enough space to host community fitness classes. Brin Snelling, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near try



try as one might

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Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Try.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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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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