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.
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. (Shak)
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. (milton) 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. (Shak) To ease her cares the force of sleep she tries. (swift)
6. To strain; to subject to excessive tests; as, the light tries his eyes; repeated disappointments try one’s patience.
7. To examine or investi
gate 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. (Shak)
9. To experience; to have or gain knowledge of by experience. Or try the Libyan heat or scythian cold. (Dryden)
10. To essay; to attempt; to endeavor. Let us try . . . To found a path. (milton) To try on. To put on, as a garment, to ascertain whether it fits the person. To attempt; to undertake.
Synonym: To attempt, endeavor, strive, aim, examine.
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. (Shak)
Origin: 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.