trial balloon(redirected from trial balloons)
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A preliminary or tentative execution of a plan or idea in order to gauge the interest or approval of someone else, especially the public. We introduced the recipe for our soda in certain parts of the country as a trial balloon, but the response was overwhelmingly negative, so we scrapped the planned revision.
a test of someone's or the public's reaction. It was just a trial balloon, and it didn't work. The trial balloon was a great success.
An idea or plan advanced tentatively to test public reaction, as in Let's send up a trial balloon for this new program before we commit ourselves. This expression alludes to sending up balloons to test weather conditions. [c. 1930]
n. a test of someone’s reaction. It was just a trial balloon, and it didn’t work.