25

As in "it is possible to try it again". "Tryable" seems to be the one mostly used online, if you type it in Google. Onelook Dictionary Search only returns an entry for "tryable" from Wordnik, not from any of the major online dictionaries.

Which spelling is the correct one for this meaning?

15

In Google Books search results for 1900–2008, retryable (blue line) and retriable (red line) are very similar in total number of matches:

Although retriable seems to have gained the upper hand since about 1995, its relatively strong showing in recent years may be due in large part to a house style preference in its favor at one publisher, Springer-Verlag, whose titles account for eight of the nine matches for retriable in the year 2006.

At this point, it's impossible to say that one spelling is correct and the other is incorrect—in fact, it's impossible to predict with any confidence which one will win out in the battle for dominant usage. However, the more frequent the usage becomes, the more pressure there will be on publishers (assuming that publishers in the traditional sense of the word continue to exist) to standardize on one spelling or the other. If the need to refer to something's ability to be retried continues to grow in computer terminology—and to hold steady in legal terminology—we should see some movement toward consensus on the spelling, one way or the other, in the next decade.

  • 9
    Just as a footnote: I wouldn't call any ngram with six zeroes after the decimal point on the vertical axis a "strong showing." It's more like a few usages. – J.R. Dec 20 '16 at 16:16
  • @J.R.: I agree with you completely. The meaning that I hope I had in mind last February when I answered this question was "strong showing visually"—that is, "impressive looking if you focus on the movement of the red line and not on the scale at which the graph is recording change." With Ngram charts it is crucial to check the scale of the line graph results. I did give a bit of context for the actual number of matches reflected in the line graph for retriable by noting that the total number of matches for the word in 2006 was nine. But I will add "relatively" to my misleading wording above. – Sven Yargs Dec 20 '16 at 19:57
19

Retryable is the more correct spelling, triable in the sense of able to be tested, is rare.

Triable has a different meaning:

1) (Law)

  • liable to be tried judicially
  • subject to examination or determination by a court of law

2)

  • (rare) able to be tested

(Collins)

0

I notice that the Outlook spell checker accepts "triable" and "retriable" but not "tryable" or "retryable". (The spell checker for this page says they are all wrong.) Within computer terminology, that feels wrong. Imagine you are in a try/catch block. Something fails in the "try" section so you want to know if you can "retry" it in the catch block. You don't attempt to "retri" - you want to know if it is "retry"-able. I think this is similar to "indexes" versus "indices" - in computer terminology, an index is different enough from the more general term that "indexes" feels better IMHO.

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    Machine spell checkers are in no way an authority; they simply highlight possible errors. That Outlook flags one form or the other is a reason to double-check it, not to rule it acceptable or unacceptable. – choster May 20 '17 at 0:29
  • FWIW my Outlook dictionary includes neither "retriable" or "retryable". That entry may be coming from your user dictionary. – Timbo Jan 28 at 23:39

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