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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
tried desperately
▪ The doctors tried desperately to save her life.
tried her hardest
▪ She tried her hardest to ignore what he’d said.
▪ Appraisal interviews can be made more effective if you stick to some well tried ground rules.
▪ Here are some well tried checklist questions that can help you think out ways of improving your power base for negotiating.
▪ Appraisal interviews can be made more effective if you stick to some well tried ground rules.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Try \Try\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. tried; p. pr. & vb. n. Trying.] [OE. trien to select, pick out, F. trier to cull, to out, LL. tritare to triturate (hence the sense of, to thresh, to separate the grain from the straw, to select), L. terere, tritum, to rub, bruise, grind, thresh. See Trite.]

  1. To divide or separate, as one sort from another; to winnow; to sift; to pick out; -- frequently followed by out; as, to try out the wild corn from the good. [Obs.]
    --Sir T. Elyot.

  2. To purify or refine, as metals; to melt out, and procure in a pure state, as oil, tallow, lard, etc.

    The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
    --Ps. xii. 6.

    For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
    --Ps. lxvi. 10.

  3. To prove by experiment; to apply a test to, for the purpose of determining the quality; to examine; to prove; to test; as, to try weights or measures by a standard; to try a man's opinions.

    Let the end try the man.

  4. To subject to severe trial; to put to the test; to cause suffering or trouble to.

    Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased.

    These are the times that try men's souls.
    --Thomas Paine (1776)

  5. To experiment with; to test by use; as, to try a remedy for disease; to try a horse.

    Come, try upon yourselves what you have seen me.

    To ease her cares the force of sleep she tries.

  6. To strain; to subject to excessive tests; as, the light tries his eyes; repeated disappointments try one's patience.

  7. (Law) To examine or investigate judicially; to examine by witnesses or other judicial evidence and the principles of law; as, to try a cause, or a criminal.

  8. To settle; to decide; to determine; specifically, to decide by an appeal to arms; as, to try rival claims by a duel; to try conclusions.

    Left I the court, to see this quarrel tried.

  9. To experience; to have or gain knowledge of by experience.

    Or try the Libyan heat or Scythian cold.

  10. To essay; to attempt; to endeavor. Let us try . . . to found a path. --Milton. To try on.

    1. To put on, as a garment, to ascertain whether it fits the person.

    2. To attempt; to undertake. [Slang]

      Syn: To attempt; endeavor; strive; aim; examine.

      Usage: Try, Attempt. To try is the generic, to attempt is the specific, term. When we try, we are usually uncertain as to success; when we attempt, we have always some definite object in view which we seek to accomplish. We may be indifferent as to the result of a trial, but we rarely attempt anything without a desire to succeed.

      He first deceased: she for a little tried To live without him; liked it not, and died.
      --Sir H. Wotton.

      Alack, I am afraid they have a waked, And 't is not done. The attempt, and not the deed, Confounds us.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"tested, proven, trusty," mid-14c., past participle adjective from try (v.). Coupled since mid-14c. with true.


vb. (en-pasttry)

  1. adj. tested and proved useful or correct; "a tested method" [syn: tested, well-tried]

  2. tested and proved to be reliable [syn: tested, time-tested, tried and true]

  1. n. earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something; "made an effort to cover all the reading material"; "wished him luck in his endeavor"; "she gave it a good try" [syn: attempt, effort, endeavor, endeavour]

  2. [also: tried]


See try

  1. v. make an effort or attempt; "He tried to shake off his fears"; "The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"; "The police attempted to stop the thief"; "He sought to improve himself"; "She always seeks to do good in the world" [syn: seek, attempt, essay, assay]

  2. put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to; "This approach has been tried with good results"; "Test this recipe" [syn: test, prove, try out, examine, essay]

  3. put on trial or hear a case and sit as the judge at the trial of; "The football star was tried for the murder of his wife"; "The judge tried both father and son in separate trials" [syn: judge, adjudicate]

  4. take a sample of; "Try these new crackers"; "Sample the regional dishes" [syn: sample, try out, taste]

  5. examine or hear (evidence or a case) by judicial process; "The jury had heard all the evidence"; "The case will be tried in California" [syn: hear]

  6. give pain or trouble to; "I've been sorely tried by these students"

  7. test the limits of; "You are trying my patience!" [syn: strain, stress]

  8. melt (fat, lard, etc.) in order to separate out impurities; "try the yak butter"; "render fat in a casserole" [syn: render]

  9. put on a garment in order to see whether it fits and looks nice; "Try on this sweater to see how it looks" [syn: try on]

  10. [also: tried]


Usage examples of "tried".

He tried not to smirk at the non-Traders when he passed their lonely fires.

Maybe if I tried treating him as family, he might warm up to me, she thought.

It was when those idiots tried to make her into a prize that she got all on her dignity.

He walked past them, mending a damaged leaf here, making another unpleasant for the insects who tried to gnaw on it.

And he said I would leave only when I signed the marriage contract and put my lip print on it in blood, so a mage could use it against me if I tried to break it.

Instead, he tried to remember if he had ever known Sandry to be in such a towering rage.

The trumpets blared, the hunter dogs of the armies howled, and Briar tried to run.

When she tried to pull herself into the saddle, her strength failed her partway.

As the watchdog mages tried to strike at Chime with their power, Tris released her wind.

He tried to inspect the curls and twists inside the thing, only to find he was swaying on his feet, sleep already blurring his mind.

While he tried to shield his vision, vines and wire finished a globe of a cage.

All along they tried to fight, as Shan did, but their efforts were useless.

He drew his sword and tried to hack at them, only to have the weapon suddenly grow hot in his hand.

Daja summoned more heat to the men who faced her, running her fingers over the living metal on her hand as she tried to hold the line between too hot for comfort and hot enough to do permanent damage.

Some of his power went into me, too, when he tried to kill me and the curse rebounded.