trial balloon

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trial balloon

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.
See also: balloon, trial

trial balloon

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.
See also: balloon, trial

trial balloon

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]
See also: balloon, trial

trial balloon

n. a test of someone’s reaction. It was just a trial balloon, and it didn’t work.
See also: balloon, trial
References in periodicals archive ?
The trial balloons being launched by the young literary critics today are especially nationalistic.
Holender is now putting out trial balloons about fewer dancers, not as many performances, eliminating the ballet school (where the Bolshoi ballerina emerita Ludmila Semenyaka has been engaged to teach) and, as next ballet director, the Russian dancer Vienna has taken to its heart more than any other since Nureyev--Vladimir Malakhov.
Many analysts believe the recent proposals to pay off the guerrillas are trial balloons to get Colombians thinking about the cost of both war and peace.
No casualties or damage are reported.) Tlass calls the Israeli Cabinet's decision to withdraw even if there is no Syrian-Israeli agreement "one of the manoeuvres and trial balloons Israel launches to split the Syrian-Lebanese track".
Although the first human-piloted balloon trip covered only 5 1/2 miles, it was preceded by trailblazing flight tests of trial balloons. After discovering the principle of the hot-air balloon in 1782, the brothers Montgolfier sent an unoccupied aerostat 1,500 feet into the air above southeastern France on June 4, 1783.
I conducted more interviews, launched trial balloons in the August and October 1997 installments of "CEO Journal," read a few books, talked with other consultants, and still couldn't come up with an acceptable explanation for why these events were taking place.
Trial balloons are often filled with hot air." (Quoted in MacWeek, 3/31/97)
Perhaps the extreme positions outlined in the Federal Register notice were mere trial balloons. Nevertheless, Kessler has made it clear that the FDA wants to suppress consumer information about nutrients by forbidding manufacturers from making any health claims without prior FDA approval.
Contrary to the tired "conventional wisdom" that thrives in Washington, this has not been a story of trial balloons and purposeful leaks, with some exceptions.
Now, the curious thing is that each of those three has appeared, in the short weeks since the war, in what may be seen as trial balloons floated into the columns of major newspapers by disgruntled conservatives in and around the Administration.
It allows manipulators to lie, strategists to float trial balloons, and willing journalists to impress their peers at the expense of their credibility with the public.
Since there is an expiration date for the President's pledge to mobilize his powers to protect cooperative policemen, which is sooner rather than later given that trial balloons to extend his term as part of Charter change have not sparked popular enthusiasm, something has to give: a nationally-elected leadership.
The names of "favorites" for certain ministerial portfolios are routinely tossed around, and these trial balloons often carry the names of the brothers, cousins, sons-in-law, and brothers-in-law of leading figures, signaling the degree to which national politics remains a "family affair."
It's also tougher to float trial balloons on ideas because workers are too willing to agree with the boss.
True, it may have been more the guarded variety of optimism rather than the unbridled sort, but still there was a feeling that the issue was gaining traction after months and months of trial balloons and combating the inattention of legislators who always seemed to have something better or glitzier to put their support behind.