send up a trial balloon

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send up a trial balloon

To suggest something in order to get feedback on it or gauge how people respond to it. The phrase alludes to the now outdated use of balloons to get information about the weather. When everyone objected to my idea, I reassured them that I was just sending up a trial balloon and had not made any sort of decision on the matter. We've been sending up trial balloons of our various ideas for new products, and so far the consumer responses have been fantastic.
See also: balloon, send, trial, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

send up a trial balloon

to suggest something and see how people respond to it; to test public opinion. Mary had an excellent idea, but when we sent up a trial balloon, the response was very negative. Don't start the whole project without sending up a trial balloon.
See also: balloon, send, trial, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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