AskDefine | Define try

Dictionary Definition

try n : earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something; "made an effort to cover all the reading material"; "wished him luck in his endeavor"; "she gave it a good try" [syn: attempt, effort, endeavor, endeavour]


1 make an effort or attempt; "He tried to shake off his fears"; "The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"; "The police attempted to stop the thief"; "He sought to improve himself"; "She always seeks to do good in the world" [syn: seek, attempt, essay, assay]
2 put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to; "This approach has been tried with good results"; "Test this recipe" [syn: test, prove, try out, examine, essay]
3 put on trial or hear a case and sit as the judge at the trial of; "The football star was tried for the murder of his wife"; "The judge tried both father and son in separate trials" [syn: judge, adjudicate]
4 take a sample of; "Try these new crackers"; "Sample the regional dishes" [syn: sample, try out, taste]
5 examine or hear (evidence or a case) by judicial process; "The jury had heard all the evidence"; "The case will be tried in California" [syn: hear]
6 give pain or trouble to; "I've been sorely tried by these students"
7 test the limits of; "You are trying my patience!" [syn: strain, stress]
8 melt (fat, lard, etc.) in order to separate out impurities; "try the yak butter"; "render fat in a casserole" [syn: render]
9 put on a garment in order to see whether it fits and looks nice; "Try on this sweater to see how it looks" [syn: try on] [also: tried]

User Contributed Dictionary



From trier, from , from Gallo-Romance *triare.


  • , /traɪ/, /traI/
  • Rhymes with: -aɪ


  1. To attempt. Followed by infinitive, the attempt fails or is expected to fail.
    I tried to rollerblade, but I couldn’t.
  2. To make an experiment. Usually followed by a present participle.
    I tried mixing more white paint to get a lighter shade.
  3. To work on something.
    You are trying too hard.
  4. To put to test
    I shall try my skills on this
  5. To taste, sample, etc.
    Try this—you’ll love it.
  6. To put on trial.
    He was tried and executed.
  7. To tire.
    It was a trying experience.

Usage notes



to attempt
  • Czech: zkusit, pokusit se
  • Finnish: yrittää
  • Japanese: 挑戦する
  • Kurdish:
  • Russian: пытаться (pytát’sja) , попытаться (popytát’sja) ; пробовать (próbovat') , попробовать (popróbovat')
  • Spanish: intentar, tratar
  • Swedish: försöka
  • Italian: cercare
  • Polish: próbować
To make an experiment
To work on something
to put to test
to taste, sample, etc
to put on trial
  • Finnish: syyttää
  • Japanese: 裁判に掛ける
  • Russian: судить (sudít')
  • Spanish: juzgar
to tire
  • Finnish: koetella
  • Spanish: cansar
  1. An attempt.
    I gave unicycling a try but I couldn’t do it.
  2. An act of tasting or sampling.
    I gave sushi a try but I didn’t like it.
  3. A score in rugby, analogous to a touchdown in American football.
    Today I scored my first try.


Derived terms


an attempt
an act of tasting or sampling
a score in rugby
  • French: essai
  • Italian: meta
  • Japanese: トライ

Extensive Definition

A try is the major way of scoring points in rugby league and rugby union. A try is scored by grounding the ball in the opposition's in-goal area (on or behind the goal line). Rugby union and league differ slightly in defining 'grounding the ball' and the 'in-goal' area (see next section).
The term try comes from try at goal, signifying that originally, grounding the ball only gave the opportunity to try to score with a kick at goal.
A try is analogous to a touchdown in American and Canadian football with the major difference being that a try requires the ball be simultaneously touching the ground in the in-goal area and an attacking player who is in the field of play or in-goal. In the laws of both forms of rugby, the term touch down formally refers only to grounding the ball by the defensive team in their in-goal to prevent a try. Although occasionally people refer to a try as a 'touchdown', the correct usage for the action is 'grounding the ball'.

Scoring a try

Aspects common to both union and league

There are differences in the fine detail of the laws and their interpretation between the two rugby codes. These are the common aspects, while the differences are treated below.
  • The player holding the ball to score a try and the ball itself must not be in touch or touch-in-goal (including on or over the dead ball line). The touchline, touch-in-goal lines and dead ball lines count as being 'out'. There has to be contact with the ground or corner flag by a player or the ball for it to be ruled in touch or touch-in-goal. Parts of the body in the air above the lines and outside the field of play or in-goal are not touch, and it is common to see players who are partly in the air over the lines still ground the ball successfully.
  • The in-goal area in which the ball must be grounded includes the goal line but not the touch-in-goal and dead ball lines.
  • Grounding the ball in both codes means either holding it and touching it to the ground in-goal, or placing hand, arm or front of body between waist and neck (the front torso) on top of the ball which is on the ground in-goal.
  • A player does not need to be holding the ball to ground it. If the ball is on the ground or just above it, it can be touched to the ground with a hand, arm or front torso. Match officials interpret dropping the ball in-goal as a knock-on, and disallow a try. For a try to be awarded they consider whether the player had the intention to ground the ball and the control of it when they did. Grounding of the ball can be instantaneous, it does not matter if the player immediately lets go and the ball then bounces forward.
  • An attacking player who falls to the ground before reaching the goal line scores a try if momentum carries the player so that the ball touches the in-goal including the goal line.

Variations specific to rugby union

  • A player may ground the ball in one of two ways: if the ball is held in the hand(s) or arm(s), merely touching the ball to the ground in-goal suffices and no downward pressure is required; if the ball is on the ground in-goal, downward pressure from the hand(s), arm(s) or upper body (waist to neck) is required. For a try to be awarded, an attacking player must ground the ball before a defender does so. If there is doubt about which team first grounded the ball, the attacking team are awarded a 5-metre scrum.
  • A player who is in touch or touch-in-goal, but who is not carrying the ball, may score a try by grounding the ball in-goal.
  • The goal-posts and padding at ground level are part of the goal line and therefore of the in-goal, so a try may be scored by grounding the ball at the foot of the posts.
  • A player may ground the ball in a scrum as soon as the ball reaches or crosses the goal line.
  • If an attacking player is tackled short of the goal-line but immediately reaches out and places the ball on or over the goal-line, a try is scored.
  • If a television match official (TMO, or video referee) has been appointed, the referee may ask for advice before deciding whether to award a try, but under current protocols the TMO may only advise on whether the ball was properly grounded, on whether the ball or ball-carrier went into touch or touch-in-goal in the act of scoring, and on any foul play that may have occurred.

Variations specific to rugby league

  • The laws of rugby league still refer to the need for "downward pressure" to be exerted in grounding the ball with hand or arm.
  • The laws of rugby league specify that a try is scored if an attacker grounds the ball simultaneously with a defender.
  • An attacking player falling to ground whose momentum does not allow the ball to reach the in-goal may not reach out and place the ball in-goal to score a try; this is disallowed by interpretation as a "double movement".
  • The goal posts and padding are not part of the goal line.
  • Players who are in touch-in-goal and not carrying the ball may not score a try by pressing a loose ball still in play to the ground.
  • A try may not be scored in a scrum which crosses the goal line, but when the ball comes out of scrum a player may pick it up and 'bore through' their own scrum to score a try.
  • Video referees in rugby league are given a wider scope to look at the validity of a try and if the video is inconclusive, the decision is sent back to the referee ("ref's call"). Referees often give the benefit of the doubt in favour of the attacking team in such cases.

Point value

In rugby league, a try is worth four points, having been this case since 1983. Before that, a try was worth three points. In rugby union, a try is worth five points; this point value having varied over time. Although a try is worth less in rugby league, it is more often the main method of scoring, as opposed to rugby union where there is heavy reliance placed on goals to accumulate points.

Penalty try

In both rugby league and in rugby union, if the referee believes that a try has been prevented by the defending team's misconduct, he may award the attacking team a penalty try. Penalty tries are always awarded under the posts regardless of where the offence took place. In rugby union, the standard applied by the referee is that a try "probably" would have been scored. The referee does not have to be certain a try would have been scored. In rugby league, the referee must be left in no reasonable doubt that a try would otherwise have been scored before a penalty try can be awarded.


In both codes when a try is scored, the scoring team gets to attempt a conversion, which is a kick at goal to convert the try from one set of points into another larger set of points. The kick is taken at any point on the field of play in line with the point that the ball was grounded for the try, and parallel to the touch-lines. This is so the kicker can position the ball in a more advantageous position to increase the chance of scoring. If successful, additional points are scored. For the conversion to be successful the ball must pass over the crossbar and between the uprights. This kick at conversion in rugby union may take place as either a place kick (from the ground) or a drop kick whereas in rugby league, a conversion may only take place as a place kick. Note, however, that in both rugby sevens (usually, but not always, played under union rules) and rugby league nines, conversions may only take place as drop kicks.
To make the conversion easier, attacking players will try to ground the ball as close to the centre of the in goal area as possible. The attacking player will however ground the ball when confronted by a defender rather than risk losing the ball by being tackled or passing it to a teammate.
In both rugby union and rugby league a conversion is worth two points; a successful kick at goal thus converts a five-point try to seven for rugby union, and a four-point try to six for rugby league.

Past to present

In early forms of rugby football the point of the game was to score goals. A try was awarded for a touch down behind the posts; It had zero value itself, but allowed the team that touched down to try to kick at goal without interference from the other team. This kick, if successful, would convert a try into a goal.
Modern rugby and all derived forms now favour the try or touch down in place of goals and thus the try has a definite value, which has increased over time and now eclipses the value of a goal. In rugby league and rugby union, a conversion attempt is still given, but is simply seen as adding extra 'bonus' points. These points however can mean the difference between winning or losing a match, so thought is given to fielding players with good goal-kicking skill.


try in Afrikaans: Drie (sport)
try in German: Versuch (Rugby)
try in Spanish: Try
try in French: Essai (rugby à XV)
try in Italian: Meta (rugby)
try in Dutch: Try (rugby)
try in Japanese: トライ (ラグビー)
try in Simple English: Try

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acid test, agonize, aim, annoy, appraise, approach, arbitrate, aspire, assay, attempt, bear hard upon, bid, bid for, blank determination, bolt, bother, bring to test, brouillon, burden, chance, charge the jury, check, clarify, clear, conduct a trial, confirm, contend for, crack, criterion, crucial test, crucible, crucify, cut and try, dab, decrassify, demonstrate, depurate, determination, distill, distress, docimasy, edulcorate, effort, elute, endeavor, engage, essay, essentialize, examine, excruciate, experiment, extract, feeling out, filter, filtrate, first draft, fling, gambit, give a try, give a tryout, go, go hard with, go ill with, harass, harrow, hassle, have a go, hear, hold court, hold the scales, hope, inspect, irk, jab, judge, kiteflying, leach, lick, lie on, lift a finger, lixiviate, load, make an attempt, make an effort, martyr, move, offer, officiate, oppress, ordeal, overburden, overload, pain, percolate, play around with, pop, practice upon, probation, proof, prove, pull for, purify, put to trial, rack, rectify, referee, refine, research, road-test, rough draft, rough sketch, run a sample, sample, screen, scrutinize, seek, separate, shake down, shot, sieve, sift, sit in judgment, slap, sounding out, spiritualize, stab, stagger, standard, step, strain, strain for, stress, strike, strive, strive for, striving, stroke, strong bid, struggle, struggle for, sublimate, sublime, substantiate, taste, tentative, test, test case, torment, torture, touchstone, trial, trial and error, trouble, try a case, try for, try it on, try one, try out, umpire, undertake, undertaking, validate, venture, venture on, venture upon, verification, verify, vex, weigh, weigh down, weigh heavy on, weigh on, weigh upon, whack, whirl, winnow, wring
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