• A meeting of two lovers at a prearranged time and location
  • (Archaic) The place of such a romantic meeting or the meeting itself


  • To meet or make plans to meet at a given time and place, often secretly


Love is an intense emotion - perhaps the strongest that humans are capable of feeling - and while there are few who reject it in the abstract, there are some who object to it between certain people. Indeed, some of the most memorable stories from fiction and history involve lovers who dare to act on their passions even when their friends and family would condemn them for it. Thus, it is only by their secret trysts that they fulfill the yearning of their hearts despite the intolerance of the communities around them.

A tryst is a predetermined rendezvous between two lovers at a specific time and place. Though it is not necessary to constitute a tryst, many such meetings are conducted illicitly. A tryst can also imply that the connection between the tryst's two parties is not condoned or supported by some faction, which usually leads to the discretion in setting one up. Therefore, it would often be unsuitable to use tryst purely as a synonym for a date, unless it is meant for comedic or theatric effect (or really is secret). In a more archaic usage, a tryst can also indicate the place where a discrete meetup between lovers takes place. Thus, one could conduct one's tryst at a tryst or, more commonly, trysting place.

The word tryst may also be employed as a verb, meaning for lovers to either meet up or formulate arrangements to meet up at a pre-agreed location and time. In this sense, one could say that one person trysts with another, or that both parties tryst (the implication being with one another). Such a meeting could rightly (and logically) be, itself, deemed a tryst, as generally one trysts by having a tryst. Whenever two lovers meet at a concrete point in space and time, they are as inseparably entangled in a tryst as they (hopefully) are with one another.

Example: Long before the end of their first tryst, they had fallen madly in love with one another.

Example: Their tryst was the loveliest place they could think of: a verdant garden bathed in silver moonlight.

Example: Every night, the two tryst on the same beach, gazing up at the stars together.


The word tryst was first used in Middle English in the 14th Century to mean "an agreement to meet." The word comes from the Old French word tristre, meaning "a particular hunting station." Prior to this, its lineage is uncertain, but experts believe it derives from the Old Norse for "to trust," treysta, the connection being that one trusted their partner to meet at the appointed place.

Derivative Words

Tryster (Pl: Trysters): Tryster is a noun form of tryst, referring to a lover who makes a meeting with their partner.

Example: The tryster met secretly with her beloved at midnight beneath the great oak that the two of them used to climb as children.

Trysts: This conjugated form is employed when he or she (rather than you or I) are making a romantic rendezvous.

Example: He trysts with his lover every week at midnight without fail, to show his deep commitment.

Trysted: The past tense of tryst signifies when an amorous pair has met in the past.

Example: They had trysted so long that they were tired of keeping their secret, and longed to make their relationship public.

Trysting: Trysting is an adjective used to describe one who is actively seeking out their lover at a predetermined spot, or one who forges an agreement to meet with said lover.

Example: The two lovers had been trysting at the same spot for weeks without being detected.

In Literature

From Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay

‘At the beginning, it sounds like a guy is trying to get his girlfriend to secretly meet up with him at midnight. But it's an odd place for a tryst, a hanging tree, where a man was hung for murder. The murderer's lover must have had something to do with the killing, or maybe they were just going to punish her anyway, because his corpse called out for her to flee.'

Here, the use of tryst is a part of a character's inner monologue thinking back on a song she used to sing as a child. The song speaks of a tryst, or a lover's meeting, beneath a hanging tree.

From Jawaharlal Nehru's speech Tryst with Destiny

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

Here India's first prime minister, Mr. Nehru, uses tryst to describe meeting of a young nation with its future.


  • The two lovers kissed at their secret tryst.
  • When one arranges a tryst, they trust their partner to meet at the chosen time and place.
  • Tristan and Isolde had one of folklore's most famous trysts.


Love, Romance, Secrecy

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of tryst. Did you use tryst in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.