American English

Definition of try verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they try
    he / she / it tries
    past simple tried
    -ing form trying
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to make an attempt or effort to do or get something I don't know if I can come but I'll try. try to do something What are you trying to do? I tried hard not to laugh. You haven't even tried to find it. Don't try to do it too quickly. try your best/hardest (to do something) She tried her best to solve the problem. Just try your hardest. In spoken English try can be used with and plus another verb, instead of with to and the infinitive:I'll try and get you a new one tomorrow.Try and finish quickly.In this structure, only the form try can be used, not tries, trying, or tried.
  2. 2[transitive] to use, do, or test something in order to see if it is good, suitable, etc. try something Have you tried this new coffee? It's very good. “Would you like to try some raw fish?” “Why not?I'll try anything once!” Have you ever tried windsurfing? Try these shoes for size—they should fit you. She tried the door, but it was locked. try doing something John isn't here. Try calling his home number. Notice the difference between try to do something and try doing something:You should try to eat more fruit.means “You should make an effort to eat more fruit.”You should try eating more fruit.means “You should see if eating more fruit will help you” (to feel better, for example).
  3. 3[transitive] to examine evidence in court and decide whether someone is innocent or guilty try somebody (for something) He was tried for murder. try something The case was tried before a jury.
  4. Idioms
    do/try your damnedest (to do something)
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    to try as hard as you can (to do something) She did her damnedest to get it done on time.
    do/try your level best (to do something)
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    to do as much as you can to try to achieve something
    not for want/lack of trying
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    used to say that although someone has not succeeded in something, they have tried very hard They haven't won a game yet, but it isn't for want of trying.
    try your hand (at something)
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    to do something such as an activity or a sport for the first time
    try your luck (at something)
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    to do something that involves risk or luck, hoping to succeed My grandparents emigrated to Canada to try their luck there.
    try somebody's patience
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    to make someone feel impatient His stubbornness would try the patience of a saint.
    Phrasal Verbstry for somethingtry somethingontry somebody/somethingout (on somebody)try out for something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: try