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try (one's) utmost

To put forth the greatest possible amount of effort or energy toward some task or goal; to try as hard as one can. I'll try my utmost to be there for your wedding, but I don't know if I'll have enough money to buy the plane ticket. Janet tried her utmost to save the family farm, but the bank foreclosed on it in the end.
See also: try, utmost

what's the use (of doing something)

What reason is there (to do something); why should I bother (doing something)? A: "OK, so you didn't do so well on the test. Just study a bit harder next time!" B: "What's the use? I'm just not any good at math." What's the use of making your bed each morning when you're just going to mess up the sheets again at night?
See also: use

bad times

Times of trouble, struggle, or unhappiness. I've had bad times since losing my job, but I'm trying to stay positive.
See also: bad, times

what's the good of (doing something)

What reason is there (to do something); why should one bother (doing something)? What's the good of trying? I just don't have the brains for this class. What's the good of making your bed each morning when you're just going to mess up the sheets again at night?
See also: good, of

try it on

1. To put on a garment or other wearable item to see if it fits. You won't know if that dress fits unless you try it on. A: "Oh my gosh, I love it, Chad!" B: "Well go on, try it on! See if it fits!"
2. To attempt some form of underhanded behavior or deception, typically with the intention of soliciting something or prompting an action from someone. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. She's always trying it on with us, but we're wise to her games.
See also: on, try

try the patience of (someone)

To frustrate or annoy (someone) by continued unwanted behavior; to test the limits of one's patience. His tangential questions are clearly trying the patience of the professor, who asked that all questions be held until the end of the lecture.
See also: of, patience, try

bad times

 and difficult times; trying times; hard times; tough times
a period that offers difficulties, such as when there is not enough food, money, or work. We went through trying times when Perry was out of work, but we all bounced back.
See also: bad, times

Keep (on) trying.

 and Don't quit trying.
Fig. a phrase encouraging continued efforts. Jane: I think I'm doing better in calculus. John: Keep trying! You can get an A. Sue: I really want that promotion, but I keep getting turned down. Bill: Don't quit trying! You'll get it.
See also: keep, trying

without half trying

Rur. effortlessly. He was so strong, he could bend an iron bar without half trying. I wish I had his ability to cook. He makes the most delicious dishes without half trying.
See also: half, trying, without

like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall

If something is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall, it is impossible or extremely difficult. Jell-O is a trademark. Trying to describe the party's policy on this is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. Note: Jell-O is a dessert that resembles ready-made jelly. This expression was first used by the American President Theodore Roosevelt in a letter to William Roscoe Thayer in 1915. He was describing the difficulty of negotiating with Colombia over the Panama Canal.
See also: like, nail, trying, wall

try it on

1. If someone tries it on, they try to start sexual activity with another person. He was horrible. He tried it on. I was on my own with him.
2. If someone tries it on, they try to get something or do something, often in a dishonest way. They were just trying it on — applying a little pressure in the hope that they would squeeze something out of me.
3. If someone, especially a child, tries it on, they behave badly, to see how badly they can behave before someone stops them. The kids were trying it on with her.
See also: on, try

try it on

1 attempt to deceive or seduce someone. 2 deliberately test someone's patience to see how much you can get away with. British informal
1 2003 This Is Essex The watchdog Energywatch says that energy suppliers are too quick to assume that consumers who are genuinely disputing an inaccurate gas or electricity bill are ‘trying it on’.
See also: on, try

like looking for/trying to find a ˌneedle in a ˈhaystack

very difficult to find: How can we ever find the quotation if you don’t even know what part of the book it comes from? It’ll be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

ˌtry it ˈon (with somebody)

(British English, informal) do something that you know is wrong, in order to see if somebody will accept this behaviour or not: The price he asked was far too much. I think he was just trying it on.Don’t try it on with me, pal, or you’ll be sorry.
See also: on, try

not for lack/want of ˈtrying

used to say that although somebody has not succeeded in something, they have tried very hard: He’s had no success in finding a job, though not for lack of trying.
See also: lack, not, of, trying, want