Definition of trial balloon in English:

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trial balloon

Pronunciation: /ˈtrī(ə)l bəˈlo͞on/


A tentative measure taken or statement made to see how a new policy will be received.
Example sentences
  • In other words, the panel will have some success, for example, in serving as a trial balloon for economic policies and in cultivating a new generation of economic and financial officials.
  • Buried inside the ‘Economic Report of the President’ was a trial balloon for an approach that would fix the problem of the lower manufacturing jobs numbers.
  • From time to time, however, the ‘orthodox school’ of historians and academics, as Windschuttle calls his adversaries, float a trial balloon to test a different approach.


1930s: a translation of French ballon d'essai.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tri·al bal·loon

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