Definition of trial in English:



  • 1A formal examination of evidence by a judge, typically before a jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings:

    ‘the newspaper accounts of the trial’
    [mass noun] ‘the editor was summoned to stand trial for libel’
    • ‘They can hold people in contempt of court, and when litigants consent, magistrate judges can preside at civil jury trials.’
    • ‘The right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings, as embodied in Article 6, holds a prominent place in a democratic society.’
    • ‘But realistically it obviously would have an intensely huge impact upon the number of civil jury trials for example that might have been held in Queensland.’
    • ‘There are four problems with this evidentiary basis for the trial judge's conviction.’
    • ‘Federal patents may be the same nationwide but under our Constitution, federal criminal jury trials are meant to differ state by state to some extent.’
    • ‘That trial proceeded, I prosecuted, and the jury duly convicted him of perjury.’
    • ‘In both civil and criminal trials, appeals courts strongly defer to a jury's decision to believe one witness rather than another.’
    • ‘They also examined evidence referred to them from commercial, criminal and civil trial proceedings.’
    • ‘Also, at the end of the trial, the judge said to the jury that evidence was only to be taken notice of from the witness box.’
    • ‘The presumption of innocence is a requirement that applies only to the members of a jury in a criminal trial.’
    • ‘Your complaint seems to be about the way the trial judge directed the jury.’
    • ‘In contrast, in many civil law systems, trials in absentia are admissible, that is the defendant may be tried even if he has never appeared in court and is on the run or in hiding.’
    • ‘Nullification is a byproduct of the robust right of criminal defendants to a trial by jury.’
    • ‘It cannot be violated to uphold criminal proceedings or to be used as evidence in a criminal trial.’
    • ‘As Ontario is a province which has maintained civil jury trials, the Juries Act also applies to the gathering of juries for civil trials.’
    • ‘It is for the jury in a criminal trial to draw inferences from the evidence as the trier of fact, not the witness.’
    • ‘Had the evidence been available to the trial judge the verdict may have been different.’
    • ‘When jury trials were common in civil litigation this was a matter for the jury to decide, and so it was regarded as a question of fact.’
    • ‘It's an edited version of a real criminal trial before a real judge and jury.’
    • ‘Yes, but they are dealing with the respective functions of judge and jury at a criminal trial.’
    court case, case, lawsuit, suit, hearing, enquiry, tribunal, litigation, judicial proceedings, legal proceedings, proceedings, legal action
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  • 2A test of the performance, qualities, or suitability of someone or something:

    ‘clinical trials must establish whether the new hip replacements are working’
    • ‘In our view one month into the trial period is too soon to have a valid comment.’
    • ‘But it was discovered during trials that individuals were able to improve relaxation levels over a period of several weeks by progressing from the faster to slower CDs.’
    • ‘Instead they voted for a full gyratory system for a trial period of three months.’
    • ‘Most randomised trials allocate individual participants to different treatments.’
    • ‘Clinical trials must require the consent of the patient.’
    • ‘A high quality metaanalysis cannot resurrect poor quality clinical trials.’
    • ‘Ideally, all drugs used to treat children would be subject to quality clinical research and trials to be authorised for use in children.’
    • ‘In two of the trials, the focal individual's relative dominance status was not as intended, and in one trial the focal individual was highly inactive.’
    • ‘Grading systems are needed to determine the quality of various clinical trials.’
    • ‘These analyses cannot substitute fully for the critical review of individual trials.’
    • ‘Then it designed clinical trials to test whether its drugs could extend life, an unequivocal proof of efficacy.’
    • ‘Researchers found only two randomized controlled trials comparing individuals wearing surgical masks with those not wearing surgical masks.’
    • ‘Clinical trials must use similar protocols to interpret positive results.’
    • ‘One of my favourite scenes is when Lauren interviews Graeme to test his suitability for a drug trial.’
    • ‘However, this has not been established in a clinical trial.’
    • ‘Similar problems of interpretation arise in the evaluation of clinical trials to test the efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs.’
    • ‘And this is how the situation will stay until a clinical trial is performed.’
    • ‘Individual trials have been inconclusive, probably because of small sample sizes.’
    • ‘Those results will reveal whether the drug is suitable for human clinical trials.’
    • ‘Methodological quality of all trials was evaluated using the standard scoring system developed by Jadad and colleagues.’
    test, try-out, experiment, pilot study
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    1. 2.1 A sports match to test the ability of players eligible for selection to a team:
      ‘he cracked his ankle the week before the final trial’
      • ‘It hindered him so much, he finished second to Dremiel Byers at the national championships and missed the automatic berth in the finals of the Olympic trials.’
      • ‘Unlike Olympic trials in individual sports, a hockey team is chosen by a committee.’
      • ‘He was not among the 50-plus collegians invited to this summer's U.S. national team trials.’
      • ‘Rather than naming the full team at trials, the five-man selection committee asked seven gymnasts to come to this week's camp and compete for the remaining two spots.’
      • ‘The winner of the selection trials will go to the Olympic Qualification Regatta in June in Lucerne, Switzerland, to try to earn a spot at the Games.’
      • ‘Team selection trials will be held during September / October.’
      • ‘Both teams are treating today's match at Northpower Stadium in Gosford as a trial for test selection.’
      • ‘The recent Australian National Championships and Olympic swimming trials give a strange story to the world of swimming.’
      • ‘I was pleased with the contribution of the 46 players at the trials.’
      • ‘He had won the World championship and had qualified for Athens too, but did not make the Australian team after the selection trials.’
      • ‘After encountering stumbling blocks with Nkana in securing the release of the player for trials in Belgium, the named individuals convinced Mwanza to quit.’
      • ‘In fact, the national championships and Olympic trials are consistently held there.’
      • ‘Another Aboriginal athlete vying for selection at the Olympic trials in August will be Patrick Johnson from the Umpila tribe of north Queensland.’
      • ‘Some players were selected after trials while one province named its team after conducting an inter-divisional tournament.’
      • ‘The selection trials clashed with the Allstar tournament, but I explained my position and expressed my willingness to play.’
      • ‘The quartet are expected to participate in tomorrows's selection trials, among other athletes from across Zambia.’
      • ‘The named individuals have resorted to coaxing players to quit after encountering stumbling blocks with the clubs in securing the release of the players for trials abroad.’
      • ‘It's become an issue for Australian track and field athletes, whose final Olympic trials are scheduled to be held at Stadium Australia in August.’
      • ‘Marambe appealed to clubs to release their players to attend trials to be held on August 21, 23 and 28 at Longden Place.’
      • ‘Lane and the national selectors confirmed the squad on Saturday evening after the trial match involving 41 players.’
    2. 2.2 A test of individual ability on a motorcycle over rough ground or on a road.
      • ‘He competed as an international swimmer and was Scottish motorcycle trials champion twice before he switched to pedal bikes.’
      • ‘A leading footpath campaigner said the motorcycle trials was a separate issue but still needed to be considered by the inspector.’
      • ‘A bike-mad youngster who was geared up to compete against adults in motorcycle trials has had his dreams shattered by thieves.’
      • ‘Addingham Moorside is a well-used venue for both bike and motorcycle trials.’
      • ‘After the war, I started racing motorcycles and riding in trials, but while I was reasonable I wasn't good enough to satisfy myself, and so I concentrated on my business.’
      • ‘Nicole currently holds world junior titles in trial, road race and mountain, and is also Senior British Road Race Champion.’
      • ‘By the time he entered Lightbowne Road he estimated the trials bike was about 300-yards in front of him.’
      • ‘There are also issues with people damaging land with trials motor cycles and four-wheel drive vehicles.’
      • ‘The aim is to discover Britain's best over four fields: trials, motocross, supermoto and road racing.’
    3. 2.3trials An event in which horses, dogs, or other animals compete or perform:
      ‘horse trials’
      • ‘A big day two for New Zealander Andrew Nicholson at the Burghley horse trials in England.’
      • ‘Our stands appear at point-to-points, country fairs, horse trials and game fairs.’
      • ‘Bramham Park is home to major three-day international horse trials and its rural setting is synonymous with countryside pursuits.’
      • ‘During the supplemental portion of all trials, heifers were maintained in 0.2-ha pens.’
      • ‘His interests are walking, boating and watching horse trials.’
      • ‘She made her yearly trek east in February, to compete in horse trials leading up to the big three-days.’
      • ‘The team aim to perform trials in animals that are naturally infected with HBV-like viruses.’
      • ‘Her parents, Sandy and Mike, were delighted at her selection for the British Eventing Team in her first full year of horse trials.’
      • ‘This will be Haka's first time competing at Badminton, although he has previously competed in the three-day Burghley horse trials.’
      • ‘The bulls have to compete in feed efficiency trials as young animals before they get into the bull studs.’
      • ‘Thousands swarmed to Badminton last weekend to watch the prestigious three-day horse trials.’
      • ‘The purity of seed for the last round of GM crop trials for winter oil seed rape has been confirmed, reports the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.’
      • ‘The animals used in these trials were very similar in age, size, and breed type.’
      • ‘Johnston won three of this year's recognised trials with horses who were not entered for the big race.’
      • ‘Equestrian stars frequent horse trials staged on our doorstep, while sporting royals are among those taking part at polo events at Ansty and Tidworth.’
      • ‘The Queen's granddaughter, 23, was competing in trials in Dorset on Friday when she fell from her horse.’
      contest, tournament, match, game, round, heat, fixture, event, meet, encounter
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  • 3A person, experience, or situation that tests a person's endurance or forbearance:

    ‘the trials and tribulations of married life’
    • ‘News anchors and reporters couldn't make enough references to the trials and tribulations that they faced throughout the day.’
    • ‘Despite the trials and tribulations, all ends reasonably happily in this tale of duty and sacrifice, with the Gods being placated and Idamante living and getting his girl.’
    • ‘Tracey herself knows first-hand about the trials and tribulations of putting on shows that are both erotic and comic.’
    • ‘Forget about the trials and tribulations of dealing with the complex emotions of the average human (or, even worse, having to deal with your own emotional mood swings).’
    • ‘He has become familiar with the trials and tribulations that have tortured Ireland over the years but still says that the people and splendour of the country make it a bit special.’
    • ‘For the last several years, Pat and I have shared a good many of the trials and tribulations in our lives, as well as the joys and successes.’
    • ‘I cannot help but contend that they have failed to demonstrate an appreciation of the history of the trials and tribulations of the various groups that shaped this society.’
    • ‘I had the pleasure of speaking to Schneider and inquiring about the trials and tribulations that he's experienced in his career.’
    • ‘At some point in our lives, the trials and tribulations of love and romance become a constant - even if we aren't dating, we usually wish we were.’
    • ‘The trials and tribulations that the college faced and the tortuous path it traversed are deeply etched in the memories of those who are associated with it.’
    • ‘In addition, Malaysia will be a severe trial for race engines, which will, for the first time, be tested over a second consecutive GP weekend.’
    • ‘And it's not just about cricket; it focuses on the trials and tribulations and passions one has to go through to achieve one's dreams.’
    • ‘Whether you wish it or not, you need to undergo the trials and tribulations of the sunny days and sultry nights as there is no escape from it.’
    • ‘Staying focused on what's important has ensured her success as she skillfully avoids the trials and tribulations of the pressures that surround her.’
    • ‘My own work is about the trials and tribulations of what it is to be a human being.’
    • ‘They were nostalgic, so to say, about the trials and tribulations they underwent to realise their dream of a bridge across the tributary of the Periyar at Manjummel.’
    • ‘Here's a rapper who's capable of making a sincere connection with his audience, so much so that he can get you on his side even when bemoaning the trials and tribulations of excessive wealth.’
    • ‘Each episode will ‘reveal the trials and tribulations of these writers on their journey to literary success.’’
    • ‘After the trials and tribulations of the past couple of years, the embarrassments and the ugliness, how could anyone at Leeds United have thought that Stan Boardman was acceptable as a star turn?’
    • ‘They had been married for over forty five years and had gone through the trials and tribulations of the Partition of India in which they had lost everything.’
    trouble, worry, anxiety, burden, affliction, ordeal, tribulation, adversity, hardship, tragedy, trauma, reverse, setback, difficulty, problem, misfortune, bad luck, stroke of bad luck, ill fortune, mishap, misadventure
    nuisance, pest, bother, irritant, source of annoyance, source of irritation, worry, problem, inconvenience, vexation, plague, source of aggravation, thorn in one's flesh, the bane of one's life, one's cross to bear
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  • 1[with object] Test (something, especially a new product) to assess its suitability or performance:

    ‘teachers all over the UK are trialling the materials’
    • ‘The three-year pilot project is being trialed at a small number of other schools in the county and is funded by Hampshire County Council and central government.’
    • ‘Members of the user group influence what products and services the company launches and can trial them before they go on general release.’
    • ‘The system echoes a scheme due to be trialled in Leeds this autumn, which will see volunteers testing the equipment without being charged.’
    • ‘He trialed a half-dozen varieties on a rocky, elevated field with poor soils and an unpromising northeasterly aspect.’
    • ‘This month the hospital began trialling a pilot scheme to give older patients a quiet window in the afternoons when they can eat their evening meal without interruption.’
    • ‘Leeds is one of nine pilot areas in England trialling new approaches to identify and improve the literacy and numeracy skills of people on Jobseekers Allowance.’
    • ‘He is also trialling new tyres which he expects a good performance from.’
    • ‘We are trialling it for commercial growing for the first time in this country.’
    • ‘It is being trialled on a pilot commercial basis in Germany.’
    • ‘Manchester is one of 14 new areas to trial the scheme after it was piloted in six other parts of the country.’
    • ‘Our experience of trialing the scheme for Wandsworth schools is that it has significantly speeded up the offer process for the majority of parents.’
    • ‘‘The Super Series will be our first opportunity to trial this process in Test match cricket,’ he said.’
    • ‘The team trialled the test on 243 patients with infections of the lower respiratory tract, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.’
    • ‘It is initially trialing its product with 1,000 rural users and has a 10,000 users expansion target.’
    • ‘But the future is looking brighter after Holly was tested in New York for her suitability to trial a radical gene therapy for the disease.’
    • ‘The Caseys should pick one or two of their export markets to test and trial new formulas.’
    • ‘The bittersweet combination could save the council as much as £21,000 from its winter maintenance budget, but opponents today questioned whether the product should be trialled in a small area first.’
    • ‘Before final publication approximately 300 children and their teachers at ten schools piloted the ideas in the pack, and 21 schools have trialled the finished product.’
    • ‘This will enable advertisers such as Churchill to trial a variety of ads with different types of customer.’
    • ‘It says it has been trialing the product with rival operators for some months now.’
    test, try out, carry out trials on, put to the test, put through its paces, experiment with
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  • 2[no object] (of a horse, dog, or other animal) compete in trials:

    ‘the pup trialled on Saturday’
    • ‘This sheep-creature is the biggest single difference between sheepdog trialing and dog events like obedience and agility.’
    • ‘Cover said the nation's stubborn Merino sheep make Australian trials the toughest in the world and a class above competitions in New Zealand, Britain and South Africa - the other nations who take sheepdog trialing seriously.’
    • ‘This is a ‘must have’ book for anyone who has an interest in sheep dog trialling.’
    • ‘Whangamomona also sees endurance riding, dog trialling, and the Great New Zealand Horse Trek which was held last year.’
    • ‘But Westmorland Gazette sheep dog correspondent Elaine Hill said it was very rare that dog trialling interfered with wildlife and that few if any people were genuinely concerned about the impact of the Hunting Bill on the sport.’


Late Middle English (as a noun): from Anglo-Norman French, or from medieval Latin triallum. The verb dates from the 1980s.