Tried and Tested: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
June 29, 2023

When you hear the phrase "tried and tested," what comes to mind? Often used in a variety of contexts, this idiom carries the connotation of reliability and proven effectiveness. Whether it's a recipe, a piece of advice, or a business strategy, when something is described as "tried and tested," it means that it has been used before and proven to work effectively.

In short:

"Tried and tested" refers to a method, strategy, or approach that has proven its effectiveness through previous usage and evaluation.

What Does "Tried and Tested" Mean?

At the core of the idiom "tried and tested" is the notion of proof through repeated successful usage. The phrase is often used to describe a strategy, method, or procedure that has been used repeatedly and successfully over a period of time, lending it credibility and reliability.

  • Reliability: The phrase implies that the approach or method has consistently produced successful results, establishing its reliability.
  • Proven: It indicates that the method or strategy has been used and evaluated for effectiveness. It's not just about the repetition but also about the proven track record of success.
  • Effective: The phrase underscores effectiveness. If something is "tried and tested," it means that it does what it's intended to do and does it well.

In essence, the term "tried and tested" is used to convey trust and confidence in the effectiveness of a particular method, approach, or strategy based on its history of repeated success.

Where Does "Tried and Tested" Come From?

The phrase "tried and tested" originates from English and has been used for centuries. Its roots can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when methods and equipment were physically tried or tested to ensure their reliability before they were used in important tasks. "Tried" comes from the Old English word "tried," which means testing something through practice or usage to prove its quality or worth. "Tested," on the other hand, originates from the Latin word "test," meaning an earthen pot.

This term was often used metaphorically during medieval times to prove metal's purity by heating it in a pot until only pure metal remained.

Historical Example

"They have been tried and tested, a phrase equivalent to the older "tried and proved."

— Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1870

10 Examples of "Tried and Tested" in Sentences

The idiom "tried and tested" is versatile and can be used in various contexts.

Here are ten examples to illustrate its usage:

  • When John found himself in a fix with his malfunctioning computer, he turned to the tried and tested method of rebooting it to solve the problem.
  • The company's tried and tested strategy for customer retention has helped it maintain a high client loyalty rate.
  • We decided to go with the tried and tested marketing methods instead of experimenting with new ones.
  • Despite the hurdles you're facing, hang in there because this plan is not a random gamble; it's a tried and tested method that has proven successful many times.
  • The school's tried and tested teaching techniques have produced several top-ranking students.
  • Our team prefers to use tried and tested software tools to ensure the project runs smoothly.
  • After the tried and tested methods brought successful results, the team sent an email saying all the best before moving on to their next project.
  • I always recommend these books. They're my tried and tested favorites.
  • This is a tried and tested route; we've used it several times in the past.
  • After using our tried and tested methods to improve your business productivity, we bid you farewell with the hopeful promise to see you again at the next annual conference.

Examples of "Tried and Tested" in Pop Culture

"Tried and tested" is a phrase that often finds its way into popular culture, further proving its universal resonance.

Here are some notable examples:

  • The song "Tried and Tested" by Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn uses the phrase to express the struggle and perseverance of life.
  • The BBC TV series "Tried and Tested" evaluates different products, using the phrase in its literal sense.
  • The book "Tried and Tested: The Story of Aromatherapy" by Maggie Tisserand uses the phrase in its title to assert the effectiveness of aromatherapy.
  • In the 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, one could say: "Jones whip is his tried and tested method of getting out of tricky situations."
  • The song "Tried And True" by Ween from their album Quebec released in 2003, uses a variation of the idiom to express a deep sense of trust.
  • The phrase can be seen in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series: "Tried and tested, Harry knew that he could always rely on Ron and Hermione to help him out."
  • In the TV series Breaking Bad, Walter White's chemistry knowledge was his tried-and-tested means to create the purest form of crystal meth.
  • The 2011 romantic comedy film Crazy, Stupid, Love. have used this idiom: "Jacob's pick-up lines were not just flukes; they were tried-and-tested formulas he used on every woman he met at the bar."
  • From the perspective of a game character in World of Warcraft: "My trusty sword is a tried-and-tested friend – it has never let me down during battles."
  • A different twist can be found inside Marvel comic books where Tony Stark says, "My Iron Man suit isn't just some new invention; it's my tried-and-trusted protector."

Other Ways to Say "Tried and Tested"

Some other ways convey the same meaning as "tried and tested."

Some of these include:

  • This method is proven effective.
  • That's a dependable strategy.
  • We've found this approach to be consistently successful.
  • The established procedure has always worked well.
  • This is a reliable method.
  • We trust our time-tested strategies.
  • That's a proven solution.
  • This well-established process has always yielded good results.
  • Our vetted approaches are effective.
  • We prefer validated strategies.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Tried and Tested"

  • What does "tried and tested" mean?

The phrase "tried and tested" refers to a method, strategy, or process that has proven its effectiveness and reliability through repeated successful use.

  • Where did the phrase "tried and tested" originate?

The phrase is believed to have originated from the context of product testing in trade and commerce, where products were "tried" or tested for their functionality and reliability.

  • Can "tried and tested" be used to describe a person?

While it's more commonly used to describe methods or strategies, it can be used to describe a person in a metaphorical sense, indicating that the person is reliable and proven in their capabilities or qualities.

  • Is "tried and tested" a cliché?

While it is a commonly used phrase, its applicability to various situations and its clear conveyance of proven reliability prevent it from being considered a worn-out cliché.

  • Can "tried and true" be used interchangeably with "tried and tested"?

"Tried and true" and "tried and tested" are very similar in meaning, both suggesting reliability and proven effectiveness. They can often be used interchangeably, although "tried and true" might have a slightly more personal or subjective connotation.

  • Is "tried and tested" formal or informal?

"Tried and tested" can be used in both formal and informal contexts. It is not slang and is widely understood in professional, academic, and casual communication.

  • What are some synonyms for "tried and tested"?

Some synonyms for "tried and tested" include proven, reliable, dependable, established, time-tested, validated, and consistently successful.

  • Is "tried and tested" negative or positive?

The phrase "tried and tested" carries a positive connotation, as it signifies reliability and proven effectiveness.

  • Is "tried and tested" an adverb?

"Tried and tested" functions as an adjective phrase, used to describe a noun (such as a method, strategy, or process).

  • Can I use "tried and tested" to describe a theory?

Yes, "tried and tested" can be used to describe a theory that has been consistently supported by evidence and has been held up under rigorous examination.

Final Thoughts About "Tried and Tested"

The idiom "tried and tested" is a staple in the English language, denoting something that has proven its value and effectiveness through repeated successful use. It conveys trust and reliability and is used across various contexts ranging from business strategies and teaching methods to recipes and home remedies.

  • Origins: The phrase is believed to have its roots in the practice of product testing in trade and commerce, but its usage has evolved over time to include any method, process, or strategy.
  • Usage: "Tried and tested" is a versatile phrase used in both formal and informal contexts, and its meaning is universally understood.
  • Importance: The phrase underscores the value of proven reliability and effectiveness, traits that are highly valued in various aspects of life, from personal endeavors to professional strategies.

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