attempt

verb
at·tempt | \ə-ˈtem(p)t \
attempted; attempting; attempts

Definition of attempt 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make an effort to do, accomplish, solve, or effect He attempted to swim the swollen river.

2 archaic : tempt

3 archaic : to try to subdue or take by force : attack

attempt

noun

Definition of attempt (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the act or an instance of trying to do or accomplish something : an act or instance of attempting something She failed the test on her first attempt but passed on her second attempt. They made an attempt [=tried] to be helpful. often : an unsuccessful effort a suicide attempt

b : something resulting from or representing an attempt … surrounded by lemon trees and a few attempts at rose bushes.— Marian Engel

2 : attack, assault an attempt on the life of the president

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Other Words from attempt

Verb

attemptable \-ˈtem(p)-tə-bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for attempt

Verb

attempt, try, endeavor, essay, strive mean to make an effort to accomplish an end. attempt stresses the initiation or beginning of an effort. will attempt to photograph the rare bird try is often close to attempt but may stress effort or experiment made in the hope of testing or proving something. tried to determine which was the better procedure endeavor heightens the implications of exertion and difficulty. endeavored to find crash survivors in the mountains essay implies difficulty but also suggests tentative trying or experimenting. will essay a dramatic role for the first time strive implies great exertion against great difficulty and specifically suggests persistent effort. continues to strive for peace

Examples of attempt in a Sentence

Verb

They've attempted a climb up Mount Everest once before. She attempted suicide early in their marriage.

Noun

She failed her driving test on the first attempt but she succeeded on her second attempt. Her attempt at a home-cooked meal consisted of frozen fish sticks and a can of soup.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The cliché of the mad artist is such a staple of this genre that what Deluc and Cassel are attempting to dramatize here – a fusing of the outlaw and the artist – can easily be undervalued. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti' chronicles Gauguin’s desire to see a new way," 13 July 2018 With the findings, the report highlights a sensational series of events that have underscored concerns about the extent to which the pharmaceutical industry has attempted to influence the Trump administration. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Novartis, Michael Cohen contacts were more extensive than previously disclosed," 13 July 2018 Back in 2015, more people died attempting to capture the ultimate selfie than from shark attacks. Blake Bakkila, Health.com, "A Shark Took a Bite Out of This Instagram Model’s Arm While She Was Posing for a Beach Shot in the Bahamas," 11 July 2018 Executives at 20th Century Fox Television, which produced Last Man Standing, attempted to find the show a new home after ABC cut it from its lineup. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "How ‘Last Man Standing’ Went From Hit Sitcom, to Canceled, to Revived For Its Seventh Season," 11 July 2018 So the owner tried to help, by attempting to saw the painful top off the offending incisor. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "3000-year-old sawn-off tooth may be the earliest evidence of horse dentistry," 2 July 2018 And frankly the folks who govern, who attempt to do that, don’t get a lot of support from community organizations because this is such a hard topic. Luke Darby, GQ, "Is There a Better Way Forward Than Abolishing ICE?," 27 June 2018 Complexity and errors The James Webb Space Telescope would be the most complex imaging hardware that NASA has attempted to put into space. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Webb Space Telescope pushed back again, won’t launch until 2021," 27 June 2018 According to Magnone's mom, Shayna, Harvey was going to attempt to logroll with the little champion. Yadira Sanchez Olson, Lake County News-Sun, "Junior logroller from Wauconda showcasing her skills on 'Little Big Shots'," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Since Mas, executive of the infrastructure firm MasTec, and brother Jose joined Beckham following his failed attempt to buy the Miami Marlins, the group has turned attention elsewhere to build the soccer stadium. Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "David Beckham, Jorge Mas encounter opposition in latest bid for Miami MLS stadium," 13 July 2018 The company made a halfhearted attempt to chip away at Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and other mirrorless specialists a few years ago with the Nikon 1 line, but as reported by NikonRumors, the whole series has now been discontinued. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Nikon discontinues its Nikon 1 lineup of mirrorless cameras," 11 July 2018 Shortly after her meeting with the President, Ms. Currie made several attempts to contact Ms. Lewinsky. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Brett Kavanaugh, Trump and what the Starr Report says about impeachment, annotated," 11 July 2018 Knievel, who died in 2007 at age 69, came up short on his attempt at jumping the fountain, hitting the knuckle just before the landing ramp and losing control. CBS News, "Travis Pastrana nails Evel Knievel's three legendary jumps in Las Vegas," 9 July 2018 Quioto led the assault in the first five minutes although his attempt—the first shot in the game—went wide. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Dynamo roll to shutout of Minnesota United," 8 July 2018 The Jaguars scored with six seconds left, but their pass attempt on the two-point conversion was batted down by Kennedale All-American linebacker Baron Browning, now at Ohio State. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Best of the best: DFW's Top 5 games to watch in 2018," 7 July 2018 Earlier this year, there were reports that Microsoft plans to make a new attempt at producing a low-price Surface tablet. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "FCC filings give further credence to new $400 Surface reports," 3 July 2018 Yurovsky and his men then made a botched attempt to incinerate the bodies of Maria and Alexey. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Inside the Romanov Family's Final Days," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'attempt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of attempt

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for attempt

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French attempter, from Latin attemptare, from ad- + temptare to touch, try — more at tempt

Noun

see attempt entry 1

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Statistics for attempt

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for attempt

The first known use of attempt was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for attempt

attempt

verb

English Language Learners Definition of attempt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to try to do (something) : to try to accomplish or complete (something)

attempt

noun

English Language Learners Definition of attempt (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of trying to do something

: something that results from trying to do something

attempt

verb
at·tempt | \ə-ˈtempt \
attempted; attempting

Kids Definition of attempt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to try to do, accomplish, or complete attempt to win

attempt

noun

Kids Definition of attempt (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or an instance of trying to do something They made two attempts to climb the mountain.

attempt

noun
at·tempt

Legal Definition of attempt 

: the crime of having the intent to commit and taking action in an effort to commit a crime that fails or is prevented

called also criminal attempt

— see also impossibility

Note: There must generally be more than preparation to be guilty of attempt.

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Comments on attempt

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