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trial (n.)

mid-15c., "act or process of testing, a putting to proof by examination, experiment, etc.," from Anglo-French trial, noun formed from triet "to try" (see try (v.)). Sense of "examining and deciding of the issues between parties in a court of law" is first recorded 1570s; extended to any ordeal by 1590s. As an adjectival phrase, trial-and-error is recorded from 1806. Trial balloon (1826) translates French ballon d'essai, a small balloon sent up immediately before a manned ascent to determine the direction and tendency of winds in the upper air, though the earliest use in English is figurative.

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Definitions of trial from WordNet

trial (n.)
the act of testing something;
in the experimental trials the amount of carbon was measured separately
he called each flip of the coin a new trial
Synonyms: test / run
trial (n.)
trying something to find out about it;
a sample for ten days free trial
a trial of progesterone failed to relieve the pain
Synonyms: trial run / test / tryout
trial (n.)
the act of undergoing testing;
candidates must compete in a trial of skill
Synonyms: test
trial (n.)
(law) the determination of a person's innocence or guilt by due process of law;
most of these complaints are settled before they go to trial
he had a fair trial and the jury found him guilty
trial (n.)
(sports) a preliminary competition to determine qualifications;
the trials for the semifinals began yesterday
trial (n.)
an annoying or frustrating or catastrophic event;
his mother-in-law's visits were a great trial for him
Synonyms: tribulation / visitation
From wordnet.princeton.edu