try·​ing | \ ˈtrī-iŋ How to pronounce trying (audio) \

Definition of trying

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: severely straining the powers of endurance a trying experience


Definition of trying (Entry 2 of 2)

present participle of try entry 1

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Other Words from trying


tryingly adverb

Examples of trying in a Sentence


They have been through some trying times together. He can be very trying at times.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But is your subconscious trying to tell you something? Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "13 Common Sex Dreams and What They Actually Mean," 1 Apr. 2019 The social media encouragement is a continuation of Smith’s efforts to provide comfort to Ellenson during a trying season out of Van Gundy’s playing rotation. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Coach O's words soothed Detroit Pistons' Henry Ellenson in trying year," 13 July 2018 For the rest of us, The Mule is a much more trying experience. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Clint Eastwood’s new movie The Mule is exasperatingly flat," 14 Dec. 2018 Sabino said the recession that began in 2008 was very trying, while the Illinois budget standoff that went on more than two years without disseminating grants caused a need for financial creativity as well. Rick Kambic,, "Lake County Haven raising funds to open second shelter for homeless women," 30 Apr. 2018 After a trying year (the breakup! the car accident!), things take a turn when April meets a terminal patient and reaffirms her faith. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: How Well Do You Remember 'Grey's Anatomy' Season 14?," 27 Sep. 2018 McFadden finished fourth last year, a tough race following a trying year of battling blood clots in her legs. Anthony Gulizia,, "Conditions led to historically slow times for Monday’s Marathon winners," 16 Apr. 2018 In these turbulent and trying times, his legacy as a global champion for peace will remain a true inspiration for us all. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general, has died at 80," 18 Aug. 2018 Starr even begins to see her boyfriend, Chris (K.J. Apa), as another white figure of oppression, despite him showing nothing but support for her during this trying time. Candice Frederick, Teen Vogue, ""The Hate U Give" Reckons With Staying Silent or Speaking Out Against Police Brutality," 5 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trying.' 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 trying


1718, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near trying



try gun


try it on


try me

Statistics for trying

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trying

The first known use of trying was in 1718

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More Definitions for trying



English Language Learners Definition of trying

: difficult to deal with


try·​ing | \ ˈtrī-iŋ\

Kids Definition of trying

: hard to bear or put up with

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More from Merriam-Webster on trying

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trying

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trying

Nglish: Translation of trying for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trying for Arabic Speakers

Comments on trying

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


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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