- 1 [uncountable, countable] a formal examination of evidence in court by a judge and often a jury, to decide if somebody accused of a crime is guilty or not a murder trial He's on trial for murder. She will stand trial/go on trial for fraud. The men were arrested but not brought to trial. The case never came to trial. She is awaiting trial on corruption charges. He did not receive a fair trial. She was detained without trial. Parker was committed for trial yesterday at Southwark Crown Court. Wordfinderabide by something, court, crime, justice, law, legal, police, prosecute, punish, trial CollocationsCriminal justiceBreaking the law break/violate/obey/uphold the law be investigated/arrested/tried for a crime/a robbery/fraud be arrested/ (especially North American English) indicted/convicted on charges of rape/fraud/(especially US English) felony charges be arrested on suspicion of arson/robbery/shoplifting be accused of/be charged with murder/(especially North American English) homicide/four counts of fraud face two charges of indecent assault admit your guilt/liability/responsibility (for something) deny the allegations/claims/charges confess to a crime grant/be refused/be released on/skip/jump bailThe legal process stand/await/bring somebody to/come to/be on trial take somebody to/come to/settle something out of court face/avoid/escape prosecution seek/retain/have the right to/be denied access to legal counsel hold/conduct/attend/adjourn a hearing/trial sit on/influence/persuade/convince the jury sit/stand/appear/be put/place somebody in the dock plead guilty/not guilty to a crime be called to/enter (British English) the witness box take/put somebody on the stand/(North American English) the witness stand call/subpoena/question/cross-examine a witness give/hear the evidence against/on behalf of somebody raise/withdraw/overrule an objection reach a unanimous/majority verdict return/deliver/record a verdict of not guilty/unlawful killing/accidental death convict/acquit the defendant of the crime secure a conviction/your acquittal lodge/file an appeal appeal (against)/challenge/uphold/overturn a conviction/verdictSentencing and punishment pass sentence on somebody carry/face/serve a seven-year/life sentence receive/be given the death penalty be sentenced to ten years (in prison/jail) carry/impose/pay a fine (of $3 000)/a penalty (of 14 years imprisonment) be imprisoned/jailed for drug possession/fraud/murder do/serve time/ten years be sent to/put somebody in/be released from jail/prison be/put somebody/spend X years on death row be granted/be denied/break (your) parole Wordfinderaccuse, appeal, counsel, defendant, evidence, justice, offence, plea, prosecution, trial CulturejuriesUnder the legal system of England and Wales, and also that of Scotland, a person accused of a serious crime who pleads ‘not guilty’ to the crime will be tried by a jury. Juries also hear some civil cases (= disagreements between people about their rights) but this is very rare. In the US juries are also used in both criminal and civil cases, though the rules vary from state to state.In Britain jurors (= jury members) are selected at random for each trial from lists of adults who have the right to vote. They must be between the ages of 18 and 70. Members of the armed forces, the legal profession and the police force are not allowed to sit on juries. Anybody called for jury service usually has to attend court for about two weeks, although some cases may go on for much longer. The court pays only their expenses and if they have a job they are paid as normal by their employer. In England and Wales 12 people sit on a jury, in Scotland 15. A larger number of people are asked to attend court and the final jury is selected at random from among them. Lawyers representing either side in a case have the right to object to a particular person being on the jury.After the jury has heard the evidence presented by both sides, it retires to the jury room, a private room, to discuss the case. When all members of the jury agree they return their verdict, go back into court and say whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. In Scotland they can also return a verdict of not proven, which means that guilt in the case has not been proved and the accused can go free. The verdict is announced by the foreman (= the person chosen by the jury as their leader). Sometimes the jury cannot all agree and the judge may accept a majority verdict, provided that no more than two members of the jury disagree. If no verdict is reached the trial is abandoned and started again with a different jury. It is not the responsibility of the jury to decide punishment, though in certain civil cases they may decide how much compensation (= money given by one person another to cancel out damage, loss, etc. caused) should be paid.In the US most juries have 12 members, though some have only six. Otherwise the system is very similar to that in England and Wales. When people are called for jury duty they must go, but people who cannot leave their jobs or homes can be excused. Before a trial begins lawyers ask questions to see if jurors are impartial, i.e. do not have strong opinions that would prevent them making a decision based on the facts. Lawyers can challenge for cause, if they can give the judge a good reason why somebody should not be a juror. They also have a number of peremptory challenges which means they can object to somebody without giving a reason. In some trials it can be difficult to find 12 people who are impartial, especially if a case has received a lot of publicity. Lawyers sometimes do research to find out what kind of person is most likely to support their side, and use challenges to keep other people off the jury. In a criminal trial the jury decides whether the accused person is guilty or innocent, but does not decide on a punishment. In a civil trial they may decide how much money should be paid in compensation. A majority decision is usually acceptable. See related entries: Legal processes test
- 2 [countable, uncountable] the process of testing the ability, quality or performance of somebody/something, especially before you make a final decision about them The new drug is undergoing clinical trials. She agreed to employ me for a trial period. The system was introduced on a trial basis for one month. a trial separation (= of a couple whose marriage is in difficulties) We had the machine on trial for a week. a trial of strength (= a contest to see who is stronger) CollocationsScientific researchTheory formulate/advance a theory/hypothesis build/construct/create/develop a simple/theoretical/mathematical model develop/establish/provide/use a theoretical/conceptual framework advance/argue/develop the thesis that… explore an idea/a concept/a hypothesis make a prediction/an inference base a prediction/your calculations on something investigate/evaluate/accept/challenge/reject a theory/hypothesis/modelExperiment design an experiment/a questionnaire/a study/a test do research/an experiment/an analysis make observations/measurements/calculations carry out/conduct/perform an experiment/a test/a longitudinal study/observations/clinical trials run an experiment/a simulation/clinical trials repeat an experiment/a test/an analysis replicate a study/the results/the findings observe/study/examine/investigate/assess a pattern/a process/a behaviour/(especially US English) a behavior fund/support the research/project/study seek/provide/get/secure funding for researchResults collect/gather/extract data/information yield data/evidence/similar findings/the same results analyse/examine the data/soil samples/a specimen consider/compare/interpret the results/findings fit the data/model confirm/support/verify a prediction/a hypothesis/the results/the findings prove a conjecture/hypothesis/theorem draw/make/reach the same conclusions read/review the records/literature describe/report an experiment/a study present/publish/summarize the results/findings present/publish/read/review/cite a paper in a scientific journal in sport
- 3[countable, usually plural] (North American English also tryout) a competition or series of tests to find the best players for a sports team or an important event Olympic trials for animals
- 4[countable, usually plural] an event at which animals compete or perform horse trials difficult experience
- 5[countable] an experience or a person that causes difficulties for somebody the trials and tribulations of married life trial to somebody She was a sore trial to her family at times. Word Origin late Middle English (as a noun): from Anglo-Norman French, or from medieval Latin triallum. The verb dates from the 1980s.Extra examples A new stocktaking system is currently under trial at the supermarket. A series of show trials of former senior officials of the ousted regime took place. A trial date has been set for May 10. As a journalist he attended every murder trial of note. Four people had been arrested and committed for trial. Gates played his second trial game in midfield. He had a trial with Chelsea when he was young. He is in prison awaiting trial on drugs charges. He never came to trial for the robbery. Human trials of the vaccine could begin within two years. If clinical trials are successful the drug could be on the market early next year. More than a hundred witnesses gave evidence at the trial. Murder trial told of horrific attack. My first day at work was a trial by fire. Opposition leaders had been jailed without trial. She agreed to employ me for a trial period. She died before the case came to trial. She does not believe she got a fair trial. She faces trial for murder. She is presently on trial at the Old Bailey. She was a real trial to her family at times. The President may simply be floating a trial balloon. The couple agreed on a trial separation. The dispute was regarded as a trial of strength by the unions. The judge halted the trial when it emerged witnesses had been threatened. The judge ordered a new trial on the grounds that evidence had been withheld. The letters that were shown during his trial turned out to be forgeries. The men claim they did not receive a fair trial. The new system will be introduced on a trial basis. The president faces trial by television tonight when he takes part in a live debate. The rebels were brutally executed after summary trials. The trial collapsed after a key prosecution witness admitted lying. The trial showed a dramatic reduction in side effects. The trial was told that death threats had been made against him. There’s a 30-day free trial of the software available. They are treating the trip as a trial run for their 500-mile sponsored ride later this month. They are treating this as a trial run for their marathon later this month. Three people are to stand trial over the deaths of a young couple. We discovered the ideal mix of paint by trial and error. We’ve got this vacuum cleaner on ten days’ free trial. You can download a free 30-day trial version of the software. a trial involving hundreds of patients As a teenager, he had trials for several top clubs. At the moment, I’m just concentrating on the Olympic trials next month. Children learn to use computer programs trial and error. He’s on trial for murder. Scientists have reported encouraging results in trials of the new GM rice. She just missed selection when she came third in the trials. She will stand trial for fraud. The men were arrested but not brought to trial.Idioms the process of solving a problem by trying various methods until you find a method that is successful Children learn to use computer programs by trial and error.