A trial is a formal meeting in which lawyers, a judge, and a jury try to determine guilt or innocence in a legal matter, and then decide on the consequences that follow.

  • Everyone in the United States has a right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers.
  • A defendant is the person who is tried during a trial. (The verb "try" is used for the action of bringing a defendant to court to answer legal charges.)
  • Peers chosen for a trial are ordinary citizens.
  • One of the duties of an American citizen is to agree to be chosen as a juror for a trial.
  • Some trials are short and last for a day or two; other trials are long and may last for weeks.
  • A judge presides over a trial.
  • Trial lawyers present the case for their clients.
  • Trials are intended to provide justice for the people who are involved.


Some people can become quite emotional during a a trial.

The word "trial" is also used for situations in which a person faces some sort of difficult challenge in his or her life.

  • Teaching in a tough, inner city school can be a trial by fire for most young teachers. (The phrase "trial by fire" is a popular way of saying an experience made someone stronger because it was difficult.)
  • Some disputes become so heated, the only way to settle them is through a trial by combat in which the winner in the fight is the one who is right.
  • You can learn how to do something through trial and error. (trial and error = learn what works through trying)
  • Daily life can be a trial for people who have big problems.

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January 16, 2020