I recall that the phrase "Hit-and-Trial" means "Trial And Error", that is to guess a solution and see if it is valid or not.

I've only a vague memory of reading it in some chemistry book where it was a method for balancing chemical equations. I also found this phrase in a question title on Math.SE :

Solving questions which appear to be pure hit-and-trial.

The user seems to be English. When I search this phrase on Google I get "Trial and error" related links.

The problem is that I could not find any authoritative reference which mentions the meaning of "Hit-and-Trial". So please tell me if it means "Trial And Error" or not.


3 Answers 3


No, it doesn't mean that (at least not in the US).

As a native speaker in the US, if I heard someone say "hit and trial" I would probably stop them and ask if they meant "hit and miss" or "trial and error".

I've never heard that phrasing until seeing this question.

In your example question from Mathematics SE, it looks like they mean "trial and error", but I get that from the context, not from understanding the phrase.

It might mean that in Indian English.

It's been suggested that this might be a phrase that's used in Indian English.

I can neither confirm nor deny this, but a google search reveals it being used to mean "trial and error" in an article written by a "Brajesh Shukla", in a question asked by a "Surya Varma", and in an article on "The Hindu". So, the suggestion seems as though it may be true.

  • Another data point: it does not mean that in the UK either.
    – psmears
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 10:06
  • Like another answer, I would say hit or miss, not hit and miss. It seem more logical as well as more familiar.
    – Chaim
    Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 15:40
  • @Chaim I haven't heard that, but they do both appear in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, so I suppose it must have some currency: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hit-and-miss merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hit-or-miss If an action is "hit-and-miss", then sometimes when you do it it works and sometimes it doesn't. You get both hits and misses.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 6 at 18:36

Yes, this means "trial-and-error" in native Indian English. That said, it's generally used by less educated - the idiom is probably picked from incorrect usage of trial-and-error and hit-or-miss.

I'm an Indian and I come across this usage frequently, albeit I wouldn't say this is grammatically correct.


I am an Indian. The phrase 'Hit and Trial' relates to the outcome of the action committed by a person with a specific and pre-planned objective. If the action achieves the objective for which it was committed, we say it is a 'Hit' in the same way as we refer to a super-successful Bollywood movie. On the other hand if the action failed to achieve its intended objective, we shrug our shoulders and say, "At least we tried... Okay let's give it another trial..." So goes the pragmatic, English speaking, upwardly mobile Indian.

  • That sounds more like "hit and miss" than "trial and error".
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 6 at 18:34

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