Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Causing strain, hardship, or distress.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • adjective extremely irritating to the nerves
  • adjective hard to endure

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

try +‎ -ing

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

  • 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

  • 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.

    The Guardian World News

  • 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

  • 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.

    The Guardian World News

Comments

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

    May 15, 2008

  • "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