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Ballon d’essai

trial balloon (def 1).
Historical Examples

In the autumn of 1916 the newspapers put forth a ballon d’essai.
Paris Vistas Helen Davenport Gibbons

This is no doubt what is technically known as a ballon d’essai.
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, May 10, 1916 Various

That was a ballon d’essai, as they call it, and they think it was a very happy one.
Royal Highness Thomas Mann

And in the early morning she had sent her note to Kitty—a ballon d’essai, despatched in a horror of great fear.
The Marriage of William Ashe Mrs. Humphry Ward

noun (pl) ballons d’essai (bæˈlõ dɛˈseɪ)
a project or policy put forward experimentally to gauge reactions to it Compare trial balloon


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