trial - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] legal the process of examining a case in a court of law and deciding whether someone is guilty or innocent. When a case comes to trial, it is brought to a court and the person who has been accused of a crime stands trial (=appears in court)
    on trial (for something):

    They’re on trial for armed robbery.

    trial on:

    He remains in prison awaiting trial on major fraud charges.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] the process of testing a product, plan, or person over a period of time
    a trial period:

    The system will operate for a six-month trial period.

    a trial basis:

    We’ve installed the new system on a trial basis.

    a trial separation (=when a married couple decide to live apart for a short time):

    She wanted a trial separation but he insisted on a divorce.

  3. 3
    [countable] a painful or difficult experience

    She writes about the trials of life on the American frontier.

    1. a.
      [singular] someone who causes problems or is annoying

      The kids can be a bit of a trial at times.

  4. 4
    [countable] [usually plural] a sports competition during which people are tested and chosen for a later competition

    The Olympic trials are to be held next week.