Etymology of try by etymonline (2024)


c. 1300, "examine judiciously, discover by evaluation, test;" mid-14c., "sit in judgment of," also "attempt to do," from Anglo-French trier (13c.), from Old French trier "to pick out, cull" (12c.), from Gallo-Roman *triare, of unknown origin. The ground sense is "separate out (the good) by examination." Sense of "subject to some strain" (of patience, endurance, etc.) is recorded from 1530s. To try on "test the fit of a garment" is from 1690s; to try (something) on for size in the figurative sense is recorded by 1946. Try and instead of try to is recorded from 1680s.

also from

c. 1300

try (n.)

late 15c., "screen for sifting," from try (v.). From 1832 as "an effort, an attempt."

also from

late 15c.

Entries linking to try


1727, "action of assorting according to quality," from French triage "a picking out, sorting" (14c.), from Old French trier "to pick, cull" (see try (v.)). There seems to be some influence from or convergence with Latin tria "three" (as in triage for "coffee beans of the third or lowest quality"). In World War I, adopted for the sorting of wounded soldiers into groups according to the severity of their injuries, from French use.

First of all, the wounded man, or "blessé," is carried into the first of the so-called "Salles de Triage" or sorting wards. Here his name and regimental number, and if he is in condition to give it, the address of his family are taken; .... Then a hasty look-over from the surgeon sends him into one of the two other "Salles de Triage" — that of the "Petit* Blessés" if he is only slightly wounded and that of the "Grands Blessés" if he is more severely so. [Woods Hutchinson, M.D., "The Doctor in War," Boston, 1918]

mid-15c., "act or process of testing, a putting to proof by examination, experiment, etc.," from Anglo-French trial, noun formed from trier "to try" (see try (v.)). Sense of "examining and deciding of the issues between parties in a court of law" is first recorded 1570s; extended to any ordeal by 1590s.

As an adjectival phrase, trial-and-error is recorded from 1806. Trial balloon (1826) translates French ballon d'essai, a small balloon sent up immediately before a manned ascent to determine the direction and tendency of winds in the upper air, though the earliest use in English is figurative.

    triedtryingSee all related words (4) >


Trends of try

adapted from Ngrams are probably unreliable.

More to Explore

strainc. 1300, streinen, "tie, bind, fasten, gird;" early 14c., "confine, restrain" (a body part, animal, etc.), senses now obsolete, from present-participle stem of Old French estreindre "bind tightly, clasp, squeeze," from Latin stringere (2) "draw tight, bind tight, compress, press
stressc. 1300, stresse, "hardship, adversity; constraining or compelling force or pressure, coercion;" the original senses are mostly archaic or obsolete. The word is in part a shortening of distress (n.) and in part from Old French estrece "narrowness, oppression," from Vulgar Latin *
renderlate 14c., rendren, rendre, "repeat, say again, recite; translate," from Old French rendre "give back, present, yield" (10c.) and Medieval Latin rendere, from Vulgar Latin *rendere, a variant of Latin reddere "give back, return, restore," from red- "back" (see re-) + combining fo
attemptlate 14c., "seek or try to do, make an effort to perform," from Old French atempter (14c.), earlier atenter "to try, attempt..., test" (Modern French attenter), from Latin attemptare "to try, make trial of; tamper with, seek to influence; attack, assail...Old Provençal, Portuguese attentar, Spanish atentar), from assimilated form of ad "to, toward" (see ad-) + temptare "to try...
taunt(implied in tauntingly), possibly [Skeat] from French tanter, tenter "to tempt, try, provoke," variant of tempter "to try...
expertfrom Latin expertus (contracted from *experitus), "tried, proved, known by experience," past participle of experiri "to try...test," from ex "out of" (see ex-) + peritus "experienced, tested," from PIE *per-yo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try...
temptlure (someone) from God's law; be alluring or seductive," from Old French tempter (12c.), from Latin temptare "to feel, try...out, attempt to influence, test," a variant of tentare "handle, touch, try, test."...
squeezec. 1600, "press forcibly" (transitive), perhaps an alteration of quease (Middle English quisen), from Old English cwysan "to squeeze," a word of unknown origin, perhaps imitative (compare German quetschen "to squeeze"). It perhaps also has been altered by influence of many words
urnlate 14c., "large, rounded vase used to preserve the ashes of the dead," from Latin urna "a jar, vessel of baked clay, water-jar; vessel for the ashes of the dead" (also used as a ballot box and for drawing lots), probably from earlier *urc-na, akin to urceus "pitcher, jug," and
runOld English, "move swiftly by using the legs, go on legs more rapidly than walking," also "make haste, hurry; be active, pursue or follow a course," and, of inanimate things, "to move over a course." The modern verb is a merger of two related Old English words, in both of which t

updated on September 28, 2017


Etymology of try by etymonline (2024)
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