Meaning of TRIAL in English


I. ˈtrī(ə)l noun

( -s )

Etymology: Anglo-French, from trier to try + English -al — more at try


a. : the action or process of trying or putting to the proof : subjection of a person or thing to a test, examination, or participation in a contest or competition to determine something in question or to settle a controversy

when several candidates are proposed for the chieftainship the choice is sometimes determined by a trial of skill among the candidates — J.G.Frazer

b. : a trial match: as

(1) : preliminary b

(2) : heat 5a(2),5b

2. : the formal examination of the matter in issue in a cause before a competent tribunal for the purpose of determining such issue : the mode of determining a question of fact in a court of law: as

a. : such an examination of an issue of law when it is before a judge alone or of fact when it is usually before a judge and jury

b. : all proceedings from the time when the parties are called to try their cases in court or from the time when issue is joined to the time of its final determination

c. : such proceedings subsequent to swearing in a jury


a. : the state or fact of being tried by suffering ; especially : a test (as of one's virtue, faith, patience, or stamina) by being subjected to affliction or temptation

the 20th century … has been a time of recurring trial — D.D.Eisenhower

hotels are a trial of both spirit and flesh — Nathaniel Peffer

purified by trial

the clock's greatest trial occurred … when a bomb fell on the roof — Roy MacNab

b. : something that brings about such a trial

despite all setbacks and hard trials — New York Times

through the trials of an epidemic — Martha T. Stephenson

the trials and tribulations of traveling over desert, across rocky divide, and floundering in the snowbanks — T.D.Clark

the relinquishment of this work on account of illness was to her a great trial — Elizabeth Hanscom

I must have been a trial to the secretary, for all my ideas were of the most precise and British order — Georgina Grahame

broadly : a source of vexation or annoyance

4. : a trying out as an experiment to test practicability, workability, or efficacy : a temporary and experimental use or application

made his first trial on the Delaware with a queer-looking boat having a row of paddles on each side — American Guide Series: New Jersey

all sorts of sleeping bags have been developed and many have been given extensive trials under various conditions — Morris Fishbein

after many pauses and many trials of other subjects — Jane Austen

a conductor's duty to give all well-written works a trial — Warwick Braithwaite

a brief trial of the plan would convince the people of its futility — F.A.Ogg & P.O.Ray

5. obsolete : direct personal knowledge : experience

6. : an act of making an attempt : endeavor , effort


a. : a sample or test piece used in proving the quality of a product or material or the progress and effectiveness of a mechanical operation


(1) : color trial

(2) : an essay of a stamp

8. : examination: as

a. : the examination of a candidate for the Presbyterian ministry

b. : the final examination of the term in some English public schools


tribulation , affliction , visitation , cross : trial implies a test of one's patience, self-control, courage, or resistance to temptation

the unfinished dresses … so saturated with smoke that he knew she found it a trial to work on them next morning — Willa Cather

the child's disobedience in public was quite a trial to his mother

tribulation , when it is not completely interchangeable with trial , stresses the suffering of a trial, sometimes connoting a suffering divinely imposed as a test of virtue

the conquest of transatlantic trade by steam navigation softened the incredible tribulations of the old sailing ship voyage — Oscar Handlin

a simple record of people trying to contend with the gigantic tribulations of poverty — New Yorker

out of this time of trial and tribulation will be born a new freedom and glory for all mankind — Sir Winston Churchill

affliction stresses the imposition of trouble or suffering

the dark and senseless afflictions of a nightmare — Kenneth Roberts

death and taxes … these twin afflictions — T.E.Ennis

from early boyhood the sacrilegious and belligerent Simon had been a growing affliction to his parents — L.C.Douglas

visitation heightens the idea of affliction, stressing the severity of suffering in suggesting an ordeal

a maiming accident or some other visitation of blind fate — Joseph Conrad

visitations, attacks, pestilences — Vicki Baum

his inborn fatalism leads him to regard famines as inevitable visitations — Tom Marvel

cross can suggest an underserved suffering or a suffering borne for the sake of a larger unselfish or professedly unselfish good

an ungrateful child was the cross she bore

endure the cross of poverty and neglect

- on trial

II. adjective

1. : of, relating to, or employed in a trial

2. : made, done, or entered into by way of trial, experiment, or test : not intended to be permanent of final unless successful

3. : used in trying, testing, fitting, or experimenting

4. : serving as a sample, specimen, proof, or test piece

a trial subscription to a magazine

III. adjective

Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary tri- + -al

: being or relating to forms of pronouns or nouns denoting three (as in the Polynesian and Melanesian languages) — compare dual , quadrual

IV. noun

( -s )

: the trial number, a form denoting it, or a word in that form

V. noun

: one of a number of repetitions of an experiment

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.