tri·al (trīəl, trīl)
a. A proceeding in which opposing parties in a dispute present evidence and make arguments on the application of the law before a judge or jury: The case is expected to go to trial.
b. An instance of such a proceeding: the trial of Socrates.
a. The act or process of testing, trying, or putting to the proof: a trial of one's faith.
b. An instance of such testing, especially as part of a series of tests or experiments: a clinical trial of a drug.
3. An effort or attempt: succeeded on the third trial.
4. A state of pain or anguish that tests patience, endurance, or belief: "the fiery trial through which we pass" (Abraham Lincoln).
5. A trying, troublesome, or annoying person or thing: The child was a trial to his parents.
6. A preliminary competition or test to determine qualifications, as in a sport.
1. Of, relating to, or used in a trial.
2. Attempted or advanced on a provisional or experimental basis: a married couple on a trial separation.
3. Made or done in the course of a trial or test.
In the process of being tried, as in a court of law.
trial by fire
A test of one's abilities, especially the ability to perform well under pressure.
[Middle English triall, a testing, from Anglo-Norman trial, from trier, to pick out, try, from Old French trier, to pick out, separate out; see TRY.]
Synonyms: trial, affliction, crucible, ordeal, tribulation
These nouns denote distress or suffering that severely tests resiliency and character: no consolation in their hour of trial; the affliction of a bereaved family; the crucible of revolution; the ordeal of being an innocent murder suspect; a time of relentless tribulation. See Also Synonyms at burden.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus