Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To try to perform, make, or achieve: attempted to read the novel in one sitting; attempted a difficult dive.
  • transitive v. Archaic To tempt.
  • transitive v. Archaic To attack with the intention of subduing.
  • n. An effort or a try.
  • n. An attack; an assault: an attempt on someone's life.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To try.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A essay, trial, or endeavor; an undertaking; an attack, or an effort to gain a point; esp. an unsuccessful, as contrasted with a successful, effort.
  • intransitive v. To make an attempt; -- with upon.
  • transitive v. To make trial or experiment of; to try; to endeavor to do or perform (some action); to assay
  • transitive v. To try to move, by entreaty, by afflictions, or by temptations; to tempt.
  • transitive v. To try to win, subdue, or overcome.
  • transitive v. To attack; to make an effort or attack upon; to try to take by force.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make an effort to effect or do; endeavor to perform; undertake; essay: as, to attempt a bold flight.
  • To venture upon: as, to attempt the sea.—
  • To make trial of; prove; test: as, “well-attempted plate,” Fairfax.
  • To try with afflictions. Jer. Taylor.
  • To endeavor to obtain or attract.
  • To try to win or seduce; tempt; entice.
  • To attack; make an effort against; assail: as, to attempt the enemy's camp; to attempt a person's life.
  • Synonyms Attempt, Essay, Undertake, Endeavor, Strive, Struggle, seek, aim. The italicized words agree in expressing the beginning of a task, physical or intellectual, which is difficult and often impossible. They are arranged in the order of strength. Attempt is to try with some effort. Essay is sometimes to try in order to see if a thing can be done or attained, and sometimes simply to attempt: as, “which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned,” Heb. xi. 29. Undertake is, literally, to take a task upon one's self, perhaps formally, and hence to go about a task with care and effort. Endeavor is to try with more earnestness, labor, or exertion. Strive is to work hard and earnestly, doing one's best. Struggle is to tax one's powers to the extent of fatigue, pain, or exhaustion. The first three words are more appropriate for a single effort, the other three for continuous or continual efforts.
  • n. A putting forth of effort in the performance or accomplishment of that which is difficult or uncertain; essay, trial, or endeavor; effort.
  • n. An effort to accomplish something by force or violence; an attack or assault: as, an attempt upon one's life.
  • n. Temptation.
  • n. In law, an act done in part execution of a design to commit a crime. Judge May.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make an effort or attempt
  • n. earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something
  • n. the act of attacking
  • v. enter upon an activity or enterprise

Etymologies

Middle English attempten, from Old French attempter, from Latin attemptāre : ad-, ad- + temptāre, to test.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Late 14th century, from Old French atempter, from Latin attemptō ("I try, solicit"), from ad ("to") + temptare, more correctly tentare ("to try"); see tempt. The noun is from the 1530s, the sense "an assault on somebody's life, assassination attempt" (French attentat) is from 1580. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.