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

View this post on Instagram Currently wrapped in a somewhat scabby old blanket, with a face mask on, clutching a lukewarm coffee while attempting and failing to get some decent writing done 🙂 Send help. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "The Item I Wear to Death: My ASOS Oversized Leather Jacket," 6 Mar. 2019 Ford claimed Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed during a party in Maryland, attempted to remove her clothes and put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's friend, responds to Ford's testimony prior to key vote," 29 Sep. 2018 According to the report, the girl, who is under 16, claims Rylett touched her breasts and fondled her while repeatedly making her undress, eventually attempting to forcefully remove her underwear. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "The co-founder of a prominent tween girl YouTube network has been arrested for molesting a minor," 24 Sep. 2018 While attempting to remove Isabella's phone out of her hand, the officer left red marks on her body, Rucks claims. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "A Student Was Sent to Juvenile Detention for Violating Her School Dress Code," 5 Sep. 2018 There are a plethora of other details: The website TitanticSwitch documents 44 separate claims which attempting to point towards the argument that the Olympic lies at the bottom of the sea instead of the original Titanic. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Wild Conspiracy That the Titanic Never Sank," 27 Feb. 2019 What more restrictive laws do lead to is women attempting to self-induce their abortions. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Anti-Abortion Activists Are Still Defending Forced Birth with Debunked Science," 26 Jan. 2019 Hackers working for the regime have often demonstrated elaborate social-engineering skills that attempt to trick victims into trusting false online personas. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "U.S. Accuses Ex-Intelligence Officer of Giving Iran Secrets," 14 Feb. 2019 If that’s you, chat with your doctor or physical therapist before attempting the move, advises Borden. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How to Do Nordic Curls to Strengthen Your Hamstrings, Like Celebrity Trainer Ashley Borden," 14 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Others suggest that leaving the EU is a statement of xenophobia and an attempt to limit immigration into the UK. Rachel Janfaza, Teen Vogue, "With Brexit Looming, Young Activists Are Still Fighting to Stay in the European Union," 13 Mar. 2019 Which is likely why early attempts to domesticate the notoriously skittish gazelle (seriously) didn’t succeed. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Why Are Some Animals Impossible To Domesticate?," 13 Mar. 2019 Fashion started to become a sort of camouflage — an attempt to blend in in a world that was not meant for me. Ariel Henley, Allure, "How Fashion Lets Me Embrace the Physical Differences Caused by Crouzon Syndrome," 12 Mar. 2019 Once the industry shifted to ready-to-wear, Capucci withdrew from the seasonal calendar to continue his craft, leaving his namesake line unmoored, despite several attempts to jump-start it. Monica Kim, Vogue, "How an Italian-French Duo Is Bringing a Roman Couturier Into the 21st Century," 11 Mar. 2019 Fans at home didn't miss his musical slip-up either, immediately calling out the coach on Twitter for his less-than-convincing attempt to break out of his country box. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Caught Blake Shelton Admitting a Major Blunder to Kelly Clarkson on Air," 9 Mar. 2019 The idea of the ERA has survived multiple attempts to kill it dead, the most memorable of which was a national campaign led by the highly effective political organizer and anti-feminist lawyer Phyllis Schlafly, in the 1970s. Chloe Angyal, Marie Claire, "Kamala Harris Says It’s Time To Make Women Full Citizens At Last," 27 Feb. 2019 The most recent, and arguably most damaging, controversy began—yet again—with an attempt to trim down the ceremony. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kevin Hart, the "Popular" Film & Cancelled Categories: A Complete Timeline of the 2019 Oscar Drama," 21 Feb. 2019 Stirring moments, such as the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915—Winston Churchill’s audacious attempt to shorten the war, which ended in tragedy for thousands of troops—are drained of passion. Roger Lowenstein, WSJ, "‘The Great War in America’ Review: A Country at War With Itself," 21 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

19 Mar 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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