Trying Times: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 27, 2023

"Trying times" is an idiom that describes difficult circumstances or hardships someone faces. It can refer to times of trouble, struggle, or unhappiness. In addition, the phrase expresses sympathy, empathy, or encouragement for someone dealing with life challenges.

In short:

  • "Trying times" means difficult or hard times.
  • It is often used to show support or compassion for someone facing challenges.

What Does "Trying Times" Mean?

"Trying" in this expression means "causing strain, hardship, or distress." It comes from the verb "try," which can mean "to test the quality, value, or usefulness of something" or "to make an effort or attempt to do something." Therefore, "trying times" test someone's strength, patience, or endurance.

Some variations and related expressions have a similar meaning to trying times.

For example:

  • "Hard times" mean times of economic difficulty or poverty.
  • "Tough times" mean times of adversity or misfortune.
  • "Rough times" mean times of trouble or difficulty.
  • "Bad times" mean times of sorrow or distress.

These expressions can be used interchangeably in most contexts, but they may have slightly different connotations depending on the situation.

Some other expressions that are similar but not the same as trying times are:

  • "A time of trial" means a period of testing or proving something.
  • "A time of tribulation" means a period of suffering or affliction.
  • "A time of crisis" means a period of danger or difficulty that requires urgent action.

These expressions are more formal and less common than "trying times." They may also suggest a more complicated or specific situation than "trying times."

Where Does "Trying Times" Come From?

The origin and history of the expression trying times is not very clear. However, some sources suggest that it may have originated in the 18th century when the word "trying" started to be used as an adjective meaning "difficult" or "annoying."

Historical Example

“We have now reached the crisis which I have long foreseen; I mean their [the British] resolution to cut off all communication between these States and Great Britain, and we must either submit to the heavy hand of tyranny and arbitrary power or rise superior to the most "trying time" that ever men were called to contend in.”

-From the letter written by George Washington in 1776, during the American Revolution.

10 Examples of "Trying Times" in Sentences

Here are some examples of how to use "trying times" in various sentences, demonstrating different contexts and situations:

  • We are living in trying times with the pandemic, the economic downturn, and the social unrest.
  • She has been through some trying times lately, losing her job and her husband in the same month. That's why she's as cold as ice.
  • He always remained optimistic and cheerful even in trying times. The sky is the limit to his positivity.
  • Thank you for being there for me during these trying times. I don't know what I would do without you.
  • We need to stick together and support each other in these trying times so we won't hit rock bottom.
  • I admire your resilience and perseverance in trying times. Thanks so much for the inspiration.
  • They say that trying times make us stronger and wiser. That being said, you shouldn't give up in life.
  • How do you cope with trying times? Do you have any tips or advice?
  • I hope things get better for you soon. These are just trying times, and they won't last forever.
  • You have shown great courage and leadership in these trying times. You are indeed a beacon of light to everyone.

Examples of "Trying Times" in Pop Culture

The expression "trying times" has also been used in various forms of popular culture, such as songs, movies, books, and TV shows.

Here are some examples:

  • "Trying Times" is the title of a song by American singer Roberta Flack, released in 1971. The lyrics talk about the struggles and challenges of life, especially for black people in America.
  • "Trying Times" is the name of a comedy sketch show that aired on HBO in 1987. The show featured various actors playing different characters who faced humorous or absurd situations in their lives.
  • "Trying Times" is the name of an episode of the TV series The Waltons, which aired in 1976. The episode deals with the effects of the Great Depression on the Walton family and their neighbors.
  • "Trying Times" is the name of a book by Australian author Brian Caswell, published in 1998. The book is a collection of short stories exploring identity, belonging, and change.

Other Ways to Say "Trying Times"

If you want to avoid repeating the same expression repeatedly, you can use some other or different ways to say "trying times."

Here are some synonyms or alternatives that you can use:

  • Difficult times
  • Challenging times
  • Hardship
  • Adversity
  • Trouble
  • Struggle
  • Misfortune
  • Calamity
  • Crisis
  • Ordeal

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Trying Times"

Here are some common questions that people may have about the expression "trying times" and their answers:

  • What is the origin of "trying times"?

Some sources suggest that it may have originated in the 18th century when the word "trying" started to be used as an adjective meaning "difficult" or "annoying."

  • What is another word for "trying times"?

Some other words for "trying times" are difficult times, challenging times, hardship, adversity, trouble, struggle, misfortune, calamity, crisis, or ordeal.

  • What is the opposite of "trying times"?

The opposite of "trying times" is easy, good, happy, prosperous, peaceful, or fortunate times.

  • How do you use "trying times" in a sentence?

You can use "trying times" in a sentence to describe complex or challenging situations someone has faced.

Example: He had been through many "trying times," but he made it through. He got over it without regrets.

  • What is the difference between trying times and hard times?

"Trying times" and hard times have a similar meaning, but hard times may imply more financial problems, while "trying times" may imply more emotional issues.

  • How do you show sympathy for someone going through "trying times"?

You can show sympathy for someone going through "trying times" by listening to them, expressing your concern and care, offering your help or support, or saying something positive or encouraging.

  • How do you cope with "trying times"?

There is no one right way to cope with "trying times." Still, some possible strategies are: seeking professional help if needed, talking to someone you trust, practicing self-care and relaxation techniques, focusing on the present and the positive aspects of your life, setting realistic goals and taking small steps to achieve them, seeking social support from friends or family, finding meaning or purpose in your situation, or learning from your experience and growing from it.

  • What are some examples of "trying times" in history?

Some historical "trying times" examples are wars, famines, plagues, natural disasters, revolutions, depressions, genocides, terrorist attacks, and political crises.

  • Is "trying times" a metaphor?

"Trying times" is not a metaphor. A metaphor is a figure of speech that creatively compares two things that are not alike. "Trying times" is an idiom. An idiom is a phrase with a symbolic meaning different from its literal meaning.

  • How do you use "trying times" in a comparative or superlative sentence?

To use “trying times” in a comparative or superlative sentence, you need to add the word “more” or “most” before the expression.

Example: These are the most "trying times" we have ever faced.

Final Thoughts About "Trying Times"

"Trying times" is an idiom that means someone is facing or has faced complex or challenging times. We often use it to show care and empathy or encourage them in their challenges.

In summary:

  • "Trying times" means difficult times.
  • It may have originated in the 18th century.
  • It has been used in various forms of popular culture.
  • It has some variations and related expressions that have a similar meaning.
  • It has some synonyms or alternatives that you can use, depending on the context of your sentence.

We hope this article has helped you understand this common idiom's meaning, origin, and usage. Remember that "trying times" are not permanent and that they can make us stronger and wiser.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Copyright © 2024 - U.S. Dictionary
Privacy Policy