attempt

verb
at·​tempt | \ ə-ˈtem(p)t How to pronounce attempt (audio) \
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 How to pronounce attemptable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for attempt

Synonyms: Verb

assay, endeavor, essay, seek, strive, try

Synonyms: Noun

assay [archaic], bash [chiefly British], bid, crack, endeavor, essay, fling, go, offer, pass, shot, stab, trial, try, whack, whirl

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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

Sarah Scaturro said, after attempting, several times, to place the orange organza glove over a mannequin’s fingers. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Tulle Bombs and Tiny Gloves: How Two Conservators Dressed a Mannequin in Tomo Koizumi for “Camp: Notes on Fashion”," 8 May 2019 In 885, for example, a Viking horde under the leadership of Rollo sailed up the river Seine and attempted to invade Paris. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "The Real History of the Ballista, Game of Thrones' Anti-Dragon Weapon," 6 May 2019 According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are almost five times more likely to have attempted suicide than heterosexual youth. Beth Dreher, Woman's Day, "Meet the Woman Who Stands In at LGBTQ Weddings," 4 May 2019 Since designing a completely Middle Eastern-style home would be hard in a cold climate, Vaux attempted to distill that same feel by creating a complex of stone rooms built around a central courtyard with a roof. Cator Sparks, House Beautiful, "The Fascinating History Behind This Moorish-Style Home in Upstate New York," 3 May 2019 The clip also has the rapper attempting to complete her verses, but Ariana continues to note their inability to hear, and both later share a smile about the situation. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj Faced Technical Issues at Coachella 2019," 15 Apr. 2019 Also on April 14, a senior at Fordham University in New York City died while attempting to take a photo atop her university’s clocktower, according to CBS New York. Kaylen Ralph, Teen Vogue, "20-Year-Old College Student Andrea Norton Died Taking a Photo at Ozark National Forest," 17 Apr. 2019 Netflix’s next big movie is a heist film starring Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac as former military operatives who take their training and use it to attempt a major robbery, where things, naturally, go awry. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: True Detective, Once Upon a Deadpool, Godzilla, and more," 15 Dec. 2018 And believe it or not, there is a budgetary provision that allows Congress and the president to attempt to pare down spending on which everyone has just signed off. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Trump, GOP plan to rescind budget spending has precedent but rocky path in Congress," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The over-the-top outfit had onlookers reaching for their iPhones in an attempt to capture what could be the night’s most unexpected look. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Katy Perry Gets “Lit” on the Met Gala Red Carpet," 6 May 2019 As one of the illegitimate sons of King Aegon IV Targaryen, Bittersteel created the now infamous battalion of sellswords in an attempt to usurp the throne. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Will the Golden Company Betray Cersei Lannister and Determine Westeros' Ruler?," 30 Apr. 2019 The Healthy Food Financing Initiative was started in 2010 in an attempt to bring grocery stores and healthier options to food deserts. Jessica Booth, Redbook, "Everything You Need To Know About Food Deserts," 29 Apr. 2019 Earlier this year, a report by The Chronicle of Higher Education revealed that the Department of Education was teaming up with Instagram influencers and college bloggers in an attempt to encourage more students to apply for federal student aid. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Snitching on Teens' Luxurious Prom Photos to the FAFSA Office Doesn't Impact Student Aid Applications," 10 Apr. 2019 France has made a concerted effort to search for and buy back pieces in an attempt to restore the collection. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "A 40-Carat Diamond Ring with Ties to the French Royal Family Was Just Recovered by Police in Paris," 8 Apr. 2019 Then, during the Great Depression, retailers made a push to commercialize the holiday in an attempt to make money during dire financial times. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "When Is Father's Day? Here's How Long You Have to Pick out the Perfect Gift for Dad," 3 Apr. 2019 According to the lawsuit, Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski helped direct donations to veterans from the Trump Foundation, in an apparent attempt to promote Trump’s candidacy. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Trump Foundation shuts down amid lawsuit alleging a “shocking pattern of illegality”," 18 Dec. 2018 Vox, in an attempt to get me to quit, bought me a Facebook Portal the other day. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: NBC journalists Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Hallie Jackson on Recode Decode," 5 Dec. 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 and Noun

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

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Statistics for attempt

Last Updated

14 May 2019

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 How to pronounce attempt (audio) \
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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