Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Learning | Tride and True? I thought it was Tried and True.

I always heard an expression that I thought was tried and true. I would hear the phrase to describe something (usually a product, but sometimes a method) that was reliable. It sounded like it meant tested and therefore proven. 

I suppose I never saw it in writing, because it surprised me when I saw it written as "tride and true." This was on Facebook, and I suspected it was a typographical error. But I looked it up, and tride is a real word.

I work at Cesar Chavez Central Library now, so I was able to consult a printed volume of the Oxford English Dictionary for the definitions of tride and tried! I expect few people will find that as exciting as I do, but I must remind you: I am a word nerd.

So the OED says that tride was an old adjective used by horsemen related to gait and pace, meaning short and swift, or short and nimble. Either way, it sounds like a reliable horse to me.

The Gingerbread Horse Runs Through the Pasture
from Pete Markham's photostream on Flickr.comSome rights reserved.

But a second definition, also obsolete, is the past tense and participle of try. So it is another way of spelling tried. So we are back to my original understanding of the phrase as tried and true, more or less meaning that a thing or method has proven reliable.

Tried and True" handpainted sign
from Damon Styer's photostream on  
Some Rights reserved.

I won't call the Facebook post I saw a typo, since technically tride is an older spelling of tried, but I think the phrase usually is written as tried and true. When I looked up the entire phrase in the OED, it appeared under tried, but not tride.  That settles the question for me.

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