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trial and error

experimentation or investigation in which various methods or means are tried and faulty ones eliminated in order to find the correct solution or to achieve the desired result or effect.
Origin of trial and error
Related forms
trial-and-error, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for trial-and-error
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Its use avoids the wastefulness of the trial-and-error method.

    Sound Military Decision U.s. Naval War College
  • How may we recognize this potential teacher without resorting to a clumsy, time-wasting, trial-and-error method?

    Vocational Guidance for Girls Marguerite Stockman Dickson
  • No trial-and-error, no baby hesitation with hand poised—just a sudden assured, controlled action.

    The Short Life Francis Donovan
British Dictionary definitions for trial-and-error

trial and error

a method of discovery, solving problems, etc, based on practical experiment and experience rather than on theory: he learned to cook by trial and error
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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trial-and-error in Culture

trial and error definition

To “proceed by trial and error” is to experiment, rejecting what does not work and adopting what does.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with trial-and-error

trial and error

An attempt to accomplish something by trying various means until the correct one is found. for example, The only way to solve this problem is by trial and error. The error here alludes to the failed means or attempts, which are discarded until the right way is found. [ c. 1800 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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