\ 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

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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 To get this done, Biden again seems ready to try without Republican votes. Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, "Analysis: Next phase of Biden’s presidency will be harder, riskier," 4 Apr. 2021 Green’s adherence is likely to increase scrutiny on the group, as investigators try to determine whether his beliefs played a role in Friday’s attack., "Capitol suspect struggled before attack, but motive remains unclear," 4 Apr. 2021 The ‘Zags will try to complete their quest to become the first undefeated men’s college basketball team since Indiana in 1976. Shannon Ryan,, "Column: A classic Final Four game between Gonzaga and UCLA was the perfect makeup gift we needed after no NCAA Tournament last year," 4 Apr. 2021 Harvey will try to keep the Orioles perfect for the 2021 season. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Braves-Phillies MLB 2021 live stream (4/3): How to watch online, TV info, time," 3 Apr. 2021 Those looking to add a touch of luxury to their food can try The Ainsworth's signature 24-karat gold chicken wings. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, "This new restaurant will bring gold-dusted wings to downtown Phoenix. Here's what to know," 3 Apr. 2021 Little says investigators will try to come up with results before the start of fall classes to help university administrators better handle the pandemic. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD will immunize up to 1,000 students and check to see if they contract COVID-19," 1 Apr. 2021 And Republicans are ready to try to win back the union votes that Mr. Trump won, then lost. New York Times, "Biden’s Big Bet: Tackling Climate Change Will Create Jobs, Not Kill Them," 31 Mar. 2021 Here is a list of other methods to try to get an appointment. Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times, "A guide to getting the COVID-19 vaccine for Californians 50 and over. It all begins Thursday," 31 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hull enjoyed the rare four-point play as she got fouled while draining a 3 and then made the ensuing free-throw try. Steve Kroner, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stanford women hold off Arizona 54-53, win 3rd national title," 4 Apr. 2021 The landing attempt was SpaceX’s fourth try since December, when a series of Starships launched successfully, fell back toward the landing site, but exploded on the ground. Washington Post, "For Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship program more smoke, fire and shrapnel," 30 Mar. 2021 Akienreh Johnson missed a half-court try for Michigan, and the Big Ten team was unable to get another shot up before time ran out., "UConn upperclassmen make the difference in No. 1 seed’s victory over No. 5 Iowa," 27 Mar. 2021 But the Americans finally broke through on their 11th try with Jackson Yueill redirecting in a low pass from Sebastian Saucedo in the 61st minute. Los Angeles Times, "The Sports Report: LeBron-less Lakers lose to Phoenix," 22 Mar. 2021 On a fast-break try with just a few minutes remaining in the half, Buddy caught a pass in stride and clanked it off the front rim. Michael Mccleary, The Indianapolis Star, "'You’re the best shooter on the planet': Buddy Boeheim carries Syracuse to Sweet 16," 22 Mar. 2021 Garrison Phelps missed a try with 1:29 to go but the loose ball was retrieved by Brown who later had the assist on the most crucial bucket of the contest. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, "St. Mary's rallies past Paradise Honors for 4A boys basketball state championship," 21 Mar. 2021 In the Browns’ 38-6 season-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland kicker Austin Seibert missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt and an extra-point try and had his two kickoffs returned for 64 yards. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Cody Parkey gets opportunity to drop anchor," 19 Mar. 2021 After a Coronado fourth-down try failed, Thomas Muller gained all 26 yards and scored from 3 yards out. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Marcos rolls in second half over Coronado," 19 Mar. 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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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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Try.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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 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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