Definition of trial balloon in US English:

trial balloon

noun

  • A tentative measure taken or statement made to see how a new policy will be received.

    • ‘I suspect this report is a trial balloon, to see what the domestic and international reaction would be.’
    • ‘In other words, the panel will have some success, for example, in serving as a trial balloon for economic policies and in cultivating a new generation of economic and financial officials.’
    • ‘And it may be more of a trial balloon for forcing a coup than anything else, which would be good.’
    • ‘I know, the author's intention is to provoke strong reaction but there's more to it, and it sounds too much like a trial balloon to me.’
    • ‘It is not inconceivable that their op-ed is a trial balloon in the foreign-affairs bureaucracy's effort to make its case against proponents of radical change.’
    • ‘Some administration and congressional advisors said they believed the idea had been floated as a trial balloon to see how much support or opposition it attracted.’
    • ‘From time to time, however, the ‘orthodox school’ of historians and academics, as Windschuttle calls his adversaries, float a trial balloon to test a different approach.’
    • ‘With more than six million acres of forest lost to fire last summer, it might not hurt to send up a trial balloon.’
    • ‘Buried inside the ‘Economic Report of the President’ was a trial balloon for an approach that would fix the problem of the lower manufacturing jobs numbers.’
    • ‘Although there had been some speculation Pryor could be the trial balloon for the extreme parliamentary move, it now appears several others could head to the floor before him.’
    • ‘‘It's a new concept and we're just putting out a trial balloon,’ LeRoux said.’
    • ‘But for now, he's merely the living trial balloon.’
    • ‘If it was just a trial balloon, it should be popped.’
    • ‘This trial balloon came on top of an article in which the US Federal Reserve pondered the use of ‘unconventional’ measures, including the purchase of equities, to boost the economy.’
    • ‘The Chinese government doesn't have accidents like this; it was clearly a trial balloon to see how markets would take the news.’
    • ‘And I can see a situation where that might apply, but what I'm saying is, what I think has happened is that the administration has run out a trial balloon.’
    • ‘Several have told me not to buy into the Miers trial balloon.’
    • ‘If this was, as some have suggested, a trial balloon being floated by the administration to see how it plays with the public, it is vital that we shoot it out of the sky with all due haste.’
    tentative enquiry, tentative proposal, tentative suggestion
    View synonyms

Origin

1930s: from translation of French ballon d'essai.

Pronunciation

trial balloon

/ˈtraɪ(ə)l bəˈlun//ˈtrī(ə)l bəˈlo͞on/