Definition of trial in English:



  • 1A formal examination of evidence before a judge, and 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is for the jury in a criminal trial to draw inferences from the evidence as the trier of fact, not the witness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's an edited version of a real criminal trial before a real judge and jury.’
    • ‘It cannot be violated to uphold criminal proceedings or to be used as evidence in a criminal trial.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They also examined evidence referred to them from commercial, criminal and civil trial proceedings.’
    • ‘As Ontario is a province which has maintained civil jury trials, the Juries Act also applies to the gathering of juries for civil trials.’
    • ‘In both civil and criminal trials, appeals courts strongly defer to a jury's decision to believe one witness rather than another.’
    • ‘The right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings, as embodied in Article 6, holds a prominent place in a democratic society.’
    • ‘There are four problems with this evidentiary basis for the trial judge's conviction.’
    • ‘Your complaint seems to be about the way the trial judge directed the jury.’
    • ‘That trial proceeded, I prosecuted, and the jury duly convicted him of perjury.’
    • ‘Nullification is a byproduct of the robust right of criminal defendants to a trial by jury.’
    • ‘Had the evidence been available to the trial judge the verdict may have been different.’
    • ‘The presumption of innocence is a requirement that applies only to the members of a jury in a criminal trial.’
    • ‘Yes, but they are dealing with the respective functions of judge and jury at a criminal trial.’
    • ‘They can hold people in contempt of court, and when litigants consent, magistrate judges can preside at civil jury trials.’
    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’
    • ‘These analyses cannot substitute fully for the critical review of individual trials.’
    • ‘Ideally, all drugs used to treat children would be subject to quality clinical research and trials to be authorised for use in children.’
    • ‘Clinical trials must require the consent of the patient.’
    • ‘Individual trials have been inconclusive, probably because of small sample sizes.’
    • ‘Instead they voted for a full gyratory system for a trial period of three months.’
    • ‘Then it designed clinical trials to test whether its drugs could extend life, an unequivocal proof of efficacy.’
    • ‘Similar problems of interpretation arise in the evaluation of clinical trials to test the efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs.’
    • ‘Researchers found only two randomized controlled trials comparing individuals wearing surgical masks with those not wearing surgical masks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of my favourite scenes is when Lauren interviews Graeme to test his suitability for a drug trial.’
    • ‘In our view one month into the trial period is too soon to have a valid comment.’
    • ‘A high quality metaanalysis cannot resurrect poor quality clinical trials.’
    • ‘Methodological quality of all trials was evaluated using the standard scoring system developed by Jadad and colleagues.’
    • ‘And this is how the situation will stay until a clinical trial is performed.’
    • ‘However, this has not been established in a clinical trial.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Clinical trials must use similar protocols to interpret positive results.’
    • ‘Those results will reveal whether the drug is suitable for human clinical trials.’
    • ‘Most randomised trials allocate individual participants to different treatments.’
    • ‘Grading systems are needed to determine the quality of various clinical trials.’
    test, try-out, experiment, pilot study
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    1. 2.1An athletic contest to test the ability of players eligible for selection to a team.
      • ‘After encountering stumbling blocks with Nkana in securing the release of the player for trials in Belgium, the named individuals convinced Mwanza to quit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The selection trials clashed with the Allstar tournament, but I explained my position and expressed my willingness to play.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In fact, the national championships and Olympic trials are consistently held there.’
      • ‘I was pleased with the contribution of the 46 players at the trials.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some players were selected after trials while one province named its team after conducting an inter-divisional tournament.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lane and the national selectors confirmed the squad on Saturday evening after the trial match involving 41 players.’
      • ‘Unlike Olympic trials in individual sports, a hockey team is chosen by a committee.’
      • ‘Marambe appealed to clubs to release their players to attend trials to be held on August 21, 23 and 28 at Longden Place.’
      • ‘He was not among the 50-plus collegians invited to this summer's U.S. national team trials.’
      • ‘Another Aboriginal athlete vying for selection at the Olympic trials in August will be Patrick Johnson from the Umpila tribe of north Queensland.’
      • ‘He had won the World championship and had qualified for Athens too, but did not make the Australian team after the selection trials.’
    2. 2.2An event in which horses, dogs, or other animals compete or perform.
      ‘horse trials’
      • ‘Her parents, Sandy and Mike, were delighted at her selection for the British Eventing Team in her first full year of horse trials.’
      • ‘The Queen's granddaughter, 23, was competing in trials in Dorset on Friday when she fell from her horse.’
      • ‘The bulls have to compete in feed efficiency trials as young animals before they get into the bull studs.’
      • ‘Bramham Park is home to major three-day international horse trials and its rural setting is synonymous with countryside pursuits.’
      • ‘Thousands swarmed to Badminton last weekend to watch the prestigious three-day horse trials.’
      • ‘She made her yearly trek east in February, to compete in horse trials leading up to the big three-days.’
      • ‘The animals used in these trials were very similar in age, size, and breed type.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A big day two for New Zealander Andrew Nicholson at the Burghley horse trials in England.’
      • ‘Equestrian stars frequent horse trials staged on our doorstep, while sporting royals are among those taking part at polo events at Ansty and Tidworth.’
      • ‘Our stands appear at point-to-points, country fairs, horse trials and game fairs.’
      • ‘Johnston won three of this year's recognised trials with horses who were not entered for the big race.’
      • ‘His interests are walking, boating and watching horse trials.’
      • ‘This will be Haka's first time competing at Badminton, although he has previously competed in the three-day Burghley horse trials.’
      • ‘During the supplemental portion of all trials, heifers were maintained in 0.2-ha pens.’
      • ‘The team aim to perform trials in animals that are naturally infected with HBV-like viruses.’
      contest, tournament, match, game, round, heat, fixture, event, meet, encounter
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  • 3A person, thing, or situation that tests a person's endurance or forbearance.

    ‘the trials and tribulations of married life’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Staying focused on what's important has ensured her success as she skillfully avoids the trials and tribulations of the pressures that surround her.’
    • ‘News anchors and reporters couldn't make enough references to the trials and tribulations that they faced throughout the day.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tracey herself knows first-hand about the trials and tribulations of putting on shows that are both erotic and comic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My own work is about the trials and tribulations of what it is to be a human being.’
    • ‘I had the pleasure of speaking to Schneider and inquiring about the trials and tribulations that he's experienced in his career.’
    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
    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
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  • 1[with object] Test (something, especially a new product) to assess its suitability or performance.

    ‘all seeds are carefully trialed in a variety of growing conditions’
    • ‘The system echoes a scheme due to be trialled in Leeds this autumn, which will see volunteers testing the equipment without being charged.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is initially trialing its product with 1,000 rural users and has a 10,000 users expansion target.’
    • ‘‘The Super Series will be our first opportunity to trial this process in Test match cricket,’ he said.’
    • ‘We are trialling it for commercial growing for the first time in this country.’
    • ‘It says it has been trialing the product with rival operators for some months now.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Members of the user group influence what products and services the company launches and can trial them before they go on general release.’
    • ‘The team trialled the test on 243 patients with infections of the lower respiratory tract, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.’
    • ‘He trialed a half-dozen varieties on a rocky, elevated field with poor soils and an unpromising northeasterly aspect.’
    • ‘He is also trialling new tyres which he expects a good performance from.’
    • ‘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 Caseys should pick one or two of their export markets to test and trial new formulas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 trialed on Saturday’
    • ‘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 sheep-creature is the biggest single difference between sheepdog trialing and dog events like obedience and agility.’
    • ‘Whangamomona also sees endurance riding, dog trialling, and the Great New Zealand Horse Trek which was held last year.’
    • ‘This is a ‘must have’ book for anyone who has an interest in sheep dog trialling.’
    • ‘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.