v.t.1. to attempt to do or accomplish: Try it before you say it's simple.2. to test the effect or result of (often fol. by out): to try a new method; to try a recipe out.3. to endeavor to evaluate by experiment or experience: to try a new field; to try a new book.4. to test the quality, value, fitness, accuracy, etc., of: Will you try a spoonful of this and tell me what you think of it?5. Law. to examine and determine judicially, as a cause; determine judicially the guilt or innocence of (a person).6. to put to a severe test; subject to strain, as of endurance, patience, affliction, or trouble; tax: to try one's patience.7. to attempt to open (a door, window, etc.) in order to find out whether it is locked: Try all the doors before leaving.9. Archaic.a. to determine the truth or right of (a quarrel or question) by test or battle (sometimes fol. by out).b. to find to be right by test or experience.v.i.10. to make an attempt or effort; strive: Try to complete the examination.11. Naut. to lie to in heavy weather under just sufficient sail to head into the wind.12. try it, that, etc., on, Chiefly Brit. Informal.a. to put on airs: She's been trying it on ever since the inheritance came through.b. to be forward or presumptuous, esp. with a member of the opposite sex: She avoided him after he'd tried it on with her.13. try on, to put on an article of clothing in order to judge its appearance and fit: You can't really tell how it will look until you try it on.14. try out, to use experimentally; test: to try out a new car.15. try out for, to compete for (a position, membership, etc.): Over a hundred boys came to try out for the football team.n.16. an attempt or effort: to have a try at something.17. Rugby. a score of three points earned by advancing the ball to or beyond the opponents' goal line.18. give it the old college try, Informal. to make a sincere effort: I gave it the old college try and finally found an apartment.Syn. 1, 10. TRY, ATTEMPT, ENDEAVOR, STRIVE all mean to put forth an effort toward a specific end. TRY is the most often used and most general term: to try to decipher a message; to try hard to succeed. ATTEMPT, often interchangeable with TRY, sometimes suggests the possibility of failure and is often used in reference to more serious or important matters: to attempt to formulate a new theory of motion. ENDEAVOR emphasizes serious and continued exertion of effort, sometimes aimed at dutiful or socially appropriate behavior: to endeavor to fulfill one's obligations. STRIVE, stresses persistent, vigorous, even strenuous effort, often in the face of obstacles: to strive to overcome a handicap.Usage. 10. TRY followed by and instead of to has been in standard use since the 17th century: The Justice Department has decided to try and regulate jury-selection practices. The construction occurs only with the base form TRY, not with tries or tried or trying. Although some believe that try and is less formal than try to, both patterns occur in all types of speech and writing.
* * *