Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Causing strain, hardship, or distress.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Difficult to endure; arduous.
  • adj. Irritating, stressful or bothersome.
  • v. Present participle of try.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Adapted to try, or put to severe trial; severe; afflictive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of a kind to test severely or thoroughly; difficult; severe: as, a trying ordeal; trying circumstances; a color trying to one's complexion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. extremely irritating to the nerves
  • adj. hard to endure

Etymologies

try +‎ -ing (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It ends up like that General in New Orleans, trying *trying* to get important information out about disaster preparedness, having to face reflexively antagonistic journalists and famously pronouncing, "You're stuck on stupid."

    A frightening mix of bodily fluids.

  • They seem trying to speak, —trying to speak kindly.

    VI. A Love-Scene. Book II—School-Time

  • See here, Nimbus, if you'll do this I will promise that you and your family never shall be separated, and I'll give you fifty dollars now and a hundred dollars when you come back, if you'll just keep those other fool-niggers from trying -- mind 'I say _trying_ -- to run away and so getting shot.

    Bricks Without Straw

  • Behold him sitting on the side of the bed, trying to dress himself -- _trying_ to do it.

    The Channings

  • And he knew not, apparently, how to express the hero's greatness _in word_, but by making him bethump the stage with tempestuous verbiage; which, to be sure, is not the style of greatness at all, but only of one trying to be great, and _trying_ to be so, because he is not so.

    Shakespeare: His Life, Art, And Characters, Volume I. With An Historical Sketch Of The Origin And Growth Of The Drama In England

  • I'm trying to think of the most unacceptable kind of tattoo but this is basically like ­trying to choose who is the worst dictator in history.

    Life and style | guardian.co.uk

  • Davy, hurrying home along the country road one cold winter afternoon, his mind intent on finishing his chores before dark, looked back after passing Old Man Thornycroft's house to find Buck trying to follow him -- _trying_ to, because the old man, who hated to see anybody or anything but himself have his way, had chained a heavy block to him to keep him from doing what nature had intended him to do -- roam the woods and poke his long nose in every briar patch after rabbits.

    Frank of Freedom Hill

  • Mr. Bing spent the first two years of his term trying to restructure the city's finances to reflect its dwindling population, which fell 25% in the past 10 years, according to Census data.

    Detroit Moves Against Unions

  • The idea of a middle-aged widower with one prior heart attack to his name trying a risky, physically demanding run of more than 2,100 miles sounded like a perfect storyline for a movie to filmmaker Tim Van Steeg.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • Damnation is just another title trying to replicate the images of the 'Old West '.

    Latest from PALGN

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Comments

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  • "It's very trying to have a drunken husband, you see; and it must be very trying to have twins three times in succession, don't you think?" (-Anne of Green Gables)

    June 8, 2009

  • A contranym: both negative ("hard to endure") and positive ("making an effort").

    May 15, 2008