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5 definitions found
 for trial
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Trial \Tri"al\, n. [From Try.]
     1. The act of trying or testing in any manner. Specifically:
        
        [1913 Webster]
        (a) Any effort or exertion of strength for the purpose of
            ascertaining what can be done or effected.
            [1913 Webster]
  
                  [I] defy thee to the trial of mortal fight.
                                                    --Milton.
            [1913 Webster]
        (b) The act of testing by experience; proof; test.
            [1913 Webster]
  
                  Repeated trials of the issues and events of
                  actions.                          --Bp. Wilkins.
            [1913 Webster]
        (c) Examination by a test; experiment, as in chemistry,
            metallurgy, etc.
            [1913 Webster]
  
     2. The state of being tried or tempted; exposure to suffering
        that tests strength, patience, faith, or the like;
        affliction or temptation that exercises and proves the
        graces or virtues of men.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings.
                                                    --Heb. xi. 36.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     3. That which tries or afflicts; that which harasses; that
        which tries the character or principles; that which tempts
        to evil; as, his child's conduct was a sore trial.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Every station is exposed to some trials. --Rogers.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     4. (Law) The formal examination of the matter in issue in a
        cause before a competent tribunal; the mode of determining
        a question of fact in a court of law; the examination, in
        legal form, of the facts in issue in a cause pending
        before a competent tribunal, for the purpose of
        determining such issue.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     Syn: Test; attempt; endeavor; effort; experiment; proof;
          essay. See Test, and Attempt.
          [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  trial
      n 1: 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" [syn: test, trial,
           run]
      2: trying something to find out about it; "a sample for ten days
         free trial"; "a trial of progesterone failed to relieve the
         pain" [syn: trial, trial run, test, tryout]
      3: the act of undergoing testing; "he survived the great test of
         battle"; "candidates must compete in a trial of skill" [syn:
         test, trial]
      4: (law) the determination of a person's innocence or guilt by
         due process of law; "he had a fair trial and the jury found
         him guilty"; "most of these complaints are settled before
         they go to trial"
      5: (sports) a preliminary competition to determine
         qualifications; "the trials for the semifinals began
         yesterday"
      6: an annoying or frustrating or catastrophic event; "his
         mother-in-law's visits were a great trial for him"; "life is
         full of tribulations"; "a visitation of the plague" [syn:
         trial, tribulation, visitation]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  277 Moby Thesaurus words for "trial":
     Olympic games, Olympics, R and D, acid test, adverse circumstances,
     adversity, affliction, aggravation, agony, anguish, annoyance,
     approach, arrangement, assay, assize, attempt, audition, bad luck,
     bad news, bane, basic training, bedevilment, bid,
     blank determination, blight, blue book, bore, bother, botheration,
     bothersomeness, bout, briefing, brouillon, bummer, calvary, care,
     change of venue, check, checking, clearing the decks, complication,
     concours, conditional, contest, control, control experiment,
     controlled experiment, court-martial, crack, crashing bore,
     criterion, cross, cross-examination, crown of thorns, crucial test,
     crucible, curse, cut and try, cut-and-try, deltoid, derby,
     determination, determined, devilment, difficulties, difficulty,
     distress, docimasy, dogging, downer, drag, dry run, dual, effort,
     empirical, empiricism, encounter, endeavor, engagement, enquiry,
     equipment, essay, exam, examen, examination, exasperation,
     experiment, experimental, experimental design, experimental method,
     experimental proof, experimentalism, experimentation, exploratory,
     familiarization, fan-shaped, feeling out, fiery ordeal, fight,
     final, final examination, first draft, fixing, fling, foundation,
     gambit, game, games, go, great go, grief, groundwork, gymkhana,
     harassment, hard knocks, hard life, hard lot, hard luck,
     hard times, hardcase, hardship, harrying, hassle, headache,
     hearing, heartbreak, heuristic, hit and miss, hit-or-miss, honors,
     hounding, inquest, inquiry, inquisition, irritant, irritation,
     joust, jury trial, kiteflying, lawsuit, lick, litigation,
     makeready, making ready, manufacture, match, matching, meet,
     meeting, midsemester, midterm, misery, misfortune, mistrial,
     mobilization, molestation, move, noble experiment, nuisance,
     number, offer, oral, oral examination, ordeal, persecution, pest,
     pilot, plague, planning, plight, plural, pragmatism,
     prearrangement, predicament, prelim, preliminaries, preliminary,
     preliminary act, preliminary step, prep, preparation,
     preparatory study, preparing, prepping, prerequisite, pressure,
     pretreatment, probation, probationary, probative, probatory,
     problem, processing, proof, propaedeutic, proving, provision,
     provisional, quiz, rally, readying, rencontre,
     research and development, resolute, rigor, rough draft,
     rough sketch, rule of thumb, sample, sea of troubles, shot,
     singular, sorrow, sounding out, spadework, stab, standard, step,
     stress, stress of life, stroke, strong bid, suffering,
     take-home examination, tentative, tentative method, tentativeness,
     test, test case, testing, three, three-in-one, tilt, touchstone,
     tournament, tourney, training, treatment, triadic, trial and error,
     trial by jury, trial run, trial-and-error, trials and tribulations,
     triangular, tribulation, trinal, trine, triple, triplex, tripos,
     triune, trouble, troubles, try, trying, tryout, undertaking,
     vale of tears, venture, venturesome, verification, verificatory,
     vexation, vexatiousness, vicissitude, visitation, viva, warm-up,
     whack, whirl, willing, woe, worriment, worry, written,
     written examination
  
  

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  TRIAL, practice., The examination before a competent tribunal, according to 
  the laws, of the land, of the facts put in issue in a cause, for the purpose 
  of determining such issue. 4 Mason, 232. 
       2. There are various kinds of trial, the most common of which is trial 
  by jury. To insure fairness this mode of trial lust be in public; it is 
  conducted by selecting a jury in the manner prescribed by the local 
  statutes, who must be sworn to try the matter in dispute according to law, 
  and the evidence. Evidence is then given by the party on whom rests the onus 
  probandi or burden of the proof, as the witnesses are called by a party they 
  are questioned by him, and after they have been examined, which is called an 
  examination in chief, they are subject to a cross-examination by the other 
  party as to every part of their testimony. Having examined all his 
  witnesses, the party who supports the affirmative of the issue closes; and 
  the other party then calls his witnesses to explain his case or support his 
  part of the issue these are in the same manner liable to a cross-
  examination. In case the parties should differ as to what is to be given in 
  evidence, the judge, must decide the matter, and his decision is conclusive 
  upon the parties so far as regards the trial; but, in civil cases, a bill of 
  exceptions (q.v.) way be taken, so that the matter may be examined before 
  another tribunal. When the evidence has been closed, the counsel for the 
  party who supports the affirmative of the issue, then addresses the jury, by 
  recapitulating the evidence and applying the law to the facts, and showing 
  on what particular points he rests his case. The opposite counsel then 
  addresses the jury, enforcing in like manner the facts and the law as 
  applicable to his side of the case; to which the other counsel has a right 
  to reply. It is then the duty of the judge to sum up the evidence and 
  explain to the jury the law applicable to the case this is called his 
  charge. (q.v.) The jurors then retire to deliberate upon their verdict, and, 
  after having agreed upon it, they come into court and deliver it in public. 
  In case they cannot agree they may, in cases of necessity, be discharged: 
  but, it is said, in capital cases they cannot be. Very just and merited 
  encomiums have been bestowed on this mode of trial, particularly in criminal 
  cases. Livingston's Rep. on the Plan of a Penal Code, 13 3 Story, Const. 
  1773. The learned Duponceau has given beautiful sketch of this tribunal; 
  "twelve invisible judges," said he, "whom the eye of the corrupter cannot 
  see, and the influence of the powerful cannot reach, for they are nowhere to 
  be found, until the moment when the balance of justice being placed in their 
  bands, they hear, weigh, determine, pronounce, and immediately disappear, 
  and are lost in the crowd of their fellow citizens." Address at the opening 
  of the Law Academy at Philadelphia. Vide, generally, 4 Com. Dig. 783; 7 Id. 
  522; 21 Vin. Ab. 1 Bac. Ab. h.t.; 1 Sell. Pr. 405 4 Bl. Com. ch. 27; Chit. 
  Pr. Index, h.t. 3 Bl. Com. ch. 22; 15 Serg. & R. 61; 22 Vin. Ab. h.t. See 
  Discharge of jury; Jury. 
       3. Trial by certificate. By the English law, this is a mode of trial 
  allowed in such cases where the evidence of the person certifying is the 
  only proper criterion of the point in dispute. For, when the fact in 
  question lies out of the cognizance of the court, the judges must rely on 
  the solemn averments or information of persons in such station, as affords 
  them the most clear and complete knowledge of the truth. 
       4. As therefore such evidence, if given to a jury, must have been 
  conclusive, the law, to save trouble and circuity, permits the fact to be 
  determined upon such certificate merely. 3 Bl. Com. 333; Steph. Pl. 122. 
       5. Trial by the grand assize. This kind of trial is very similar to the 
  common trial by jury. There is only one case in which it appears ever to 
  have been applied, and there it is still in force. 
       6. In a writ of right, if the defendant by a particular form of plea 
  appropriate to the purpose, (see the plea, 3 Chitty, 652,) denied the right 
  of the demandant, as claimed, he had the option, till the recent abolition 
  of the extravagant and barbarous method of wager by battel, of either 
  offering battel or putting himself on the grand assize, to try whether he or 
  the demandant "had the greater right." The latter course he may still take; 
  and, if he does, the court award a writ for summoning four knights to make 
  the election of twenty other recognitors. The four knights and twelve of the 
  recognitors so elected, together making a jury of sixteen, constitute what 
  is called the grand assise; and when assembled, they proceed to try the 
  issue, or (as it is called in this case) the mise, upon the question of 
  right. The trial, as in the case of a common jury, may be either at the bar 
  or nisi prius; and if at nisi prius, a nisi prius record is made up; and the 
  proceedings are in either case, in general, the same as where there is a 
  common jury. See Wils. R. 419, 541; 1 Holt's N. P. Rep. 657; 3 Chitty's Pl. 
  635; 2 Saund. 45 e; 1 Arch. 402. Upon the issue or mise of right, the wager 
  of battel or the grand assise was, till the abolition of the former, and the 
  latter still is, the only legitimate method of trial; and the question 
  cannot be tried by a jury in the common form. 1 B. & P. 192. See 3 Bl. Com. 
  351. 
       7. Trial by inspection or examination. This trial takes place when for 
  the greater expedition of a cause, in some point or issue being either the 
  principal question or arising collaterally out of it, being evidently the 
  object of sense, the judges of the court, upon the testimony of their own 
  senses, shall decide the point in dispute. For where the affirmative or 
  negative of a question is matter of such obvious determination, it is not 
  thought necessary to summon a jury to decide it; who are properly called in 
  to inform the conscience of the court in respect of dubious facts, and, 
  therefore, when the fact, from its nature, must be evident to the court 
  either from ocular demonstration or other irrefragable proof, there the law 
  departs from its usual resort, the verdict of twelve men, and relies ou the 
  judgment alone. For example, if a defendant pleads in abatement of the suit 
  that the plaintiff is dead, and one appears and calls himself the plaintiff, 
  which the defendant denies; in this case the judges shall determine by 
  inspection and examination whether be be the plaintiff or not. 9 Co. 30; 3 
  Bl. Com. 331; Steph. Pl. 123. 
       8. Judges of courts of equity frequently decide facts upon mere 
  inspection. The most familiar examples are those of cases where the 
  plaintiff prays an injunction on an allegation of piracy or infringement of 
  a patent or copyright. 5 Ves. 709; 12 Ves. 270, and the cases there cited. 
  And see 2 Atk. 141; 2 B. & C. 80; 4 Ves. 681; 2 Russ. R. 385; 1 V. & B. 67; 
  Cro. Jac. 230; 1 Dall. 166. 
       9. Trial by the record. This trial applies to cases where an issue of 
  nul tiel record is joined in any action. If, on one side, a record be 
  asserted to exist, and the opposite party deny its existence, under the form 
  of traverse, that there is no such record remaining in court, as alleged, 
  and issue be joined thereon, this is called an issue of nul tiel record; and 
  the court awards, in such case, a trial by inspection and examination of the 
  record: Upon this the party, affirming its existence, is bound to produce it 
  in court, on a day given for the purpose, and if he fail to do so, judgment 
  is given for his adversary. 
       10. The trial by record is not only in use when an issue of this kind 
  happens to arise for decision, but it is the only legitimate mode of trying 
  such issue, and the parties cannot put themselves upon the country. Steph. 
  Pl. 122; 2 Bl. Com. 330. 
       11. Trial by wager of battel. In the old English law, this was a 
  barbarous mode of trying facts, among a rude people, founded on the 
  supposition that heaven would always interpose, and give the victory to the 
  champions of truth and innocence. This mode of trial was abolished in 
  England as late as the stat. 59 Geo. III., c. 46, A. D. 1818. It never was 
  in force in the United States. See 8 Bl. Com. 337; 1 Hale's Hist. 188; see a 
  modern case, 1 B. & A. 405. 
       12. Trial by wager of law. This mode of trial has fallen into complete 
  disuse; but in point of law, it seems, in England, to be still competent in 
  most cases to which is anciently applied. The most important and best 
  established of these cases, is, the issue of nil debet, arising in action of 
  debt of simple contract, or the issue of non detinet, in an action of 
  detinue. In the declaration in these actions, as in almost all others, the 
  plaintiff concludes by offering his suit (of which the ancient meaning was 
  followers or witnesses, though the words are now retained as mere form,) to 
  prove the truth of his claim. On the other hand, if the defendant, by a plea 
  of nil debet or non detinet, deny the debt or detention, be may conclude by 
  offering to establish the truth of such plea, "against the plaintiff and his 
  suit, in such manner as the court shall direct." Upon this the court awards 
  the wager of law; Co. Ent. 119 a; Lill. Ent. 467; 3 Chit. Pl. 479; and the 
  form of this proceeding, when so awarded, is that the defendant brings into 
  court with him eleven of his neighbors, and for himself, makes oath that he 
  does not owe the debt or detain the property alleged and then the eleven 
  also swear that they believe him to speak the truth; and the defendant is 
  then entitled to judgment. 3 Bl. Com. 343; Steph. Pl. 124. Blackstone 
  compares this mode of trial to the canonical purgation of the catholic 
  clergy, and to the decisory oath of the civil, law. See Oath, decisory. 
       13. Trial by witnesses. This species of trial by witnesses, or per 
  testes, is without the intervention of a jury 
       14. This is the only method of trial known to the civil law, in which 
  the judge is left to form in his own breast his sentence upon the credit of 
  the witnesses examined; but it is very rarely used in the common law, which 
  prefers the trial by jury in almost every instance. 
       15. In England, when a widow brings a writ of dower, and the tenant 
  pleads that the tenant is not dead, this being looked upon as a dilatory 
  plea, is, in favor of the widow, and for greater expedition, allowed to be 
  tried by witnesses examined before the judges; and so, says Finch, shall no 
  other case in our law. Finch's Law, 423. But Sir Edward Coke mentions 
  others: as to try whether the tenant in a real action was duly summoned; or 
  the validity of a challenge to a juror; so that Finch's observation must be 
  confined to the trial of direct and not collateral issues. And in every 
  case, Sir Edward Coke lays it down, that the affirmative must be proved by 
  two witnesses at least. 3 Bl. Com. 336. 
  
  

From The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906) :

  TRIAL, n.  A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the
  blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors.  In order to
  effect this purpose it is necessary to supply a contrast in the person
  of one who is called the defendant, the prisoner, or the accused.  If
  the contrast is made sufficiently clear this person is made to undergo
  such an affliction as will give the virtuous gentlemen a comfortable
  sense of their immunity, added to that of their worth.  In our day the
  accused is usually a human being, or a socialist, but in mediaeval
  times, animals, fishes, reptiles and insects were brought to trial.  A
  beast that had taken human life, or practiced sorcery, was duly
  arrested, tried and, if condemned, put to death by the public
  executioner.  Insects ravaging grain fields, orchards or vineyards
  were cited to appeal by counsel before a civil tribunal, and after
  testimony, argument and condemnation, if they continued _in
  contumaciam_ the matter was taken to a high ecclesiastical court,
  where they were solemnly excommunicated and anathematized.  In a
  street of Toledo, some pigs that had wickedly run between the
  viceroy's legs, upsetting him, were arrested on a warrant, tried and
  punished.  In Naples and ass was condemned to be burned at the stake,
  but the sentence appears not to have been executed.  D'Addosio relates
  from the court records many trials of pigs, bulls, horses, cocks,
  dogs, goats, etc., greatly, it is believed, to the betterment of their
  conduct and morals.  In 1451 a suit was brought against the leeches
  infesting some ponds about Berne, and the Bishop of Lausanne,
  instructed by the faculty of Heidelberg University, directed that some
  of "the aquatic worms" be brought before the local magistracy.  This
  was done and the leeches, both present and absent, were ordered to
  leave the places that they had infested within three days on pain of
  incurring "the malediction of God."  In the voluminous records of this
  _cause celebre_ nothing is found to show whether the offenders braved
  the punishment, or departed forthwith out of that inhospitable
  jurisdiction.
  

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