Definition of attempt in English:



  • 1 Make an effort to achieve or complete (something, typically a difficult task or action)

    ‘she attempted a comeback in 1989’
    [with infinitive] ‘those who attempted to flee were captured at the border’
    • ‘That's when she was forced to attempt the most difficult vault of the competition over a kneeling horse.’
    • ‘There is no getting away from the fact the bill does not even attempt to resolve the difficult issues underlying and surrounding it.’
    • ‘He also knows that the risk is compounded when a company attempts to achieve such a growth rate by taking on entirely new types of projects, as he plans to do.’
    • ‘The purpose of this article is to attempt the difficult task of trying to describe how the Indians developed this ingenious system.’
    • ‘More changes are now afoot at the school as it attempts to achieve the status of a Specialist Science College.’
    • ‘He attempted a comeback in mid-May against Berwick Bandits but pulled out because of intense pain.’
    • ‘Trying to cement her position she pushes the team into attempting an exceptionally difficult human pyramid move.’
    • ‘Without such an effort, attempting to improve the situation is like building a house on a sand dune.’
    • ‘Finally the three men attempted the climb but after a day of avalanches they decided to stop.’
    • ‘Many who marry attempt to achieve a strong, enduring bond based primarily on emotions.’
    • ‘It's a good time to encounter difficult people or attempt arduous tasks.’
    • ‘To be fair, over the next few days my true love did at least attempt to make an effort.’
    • ‘Some women attempt to achieve a compromise of sorts through relationships with several men.’
    • ‘Mendelssohn did not attempt his very difficult task until he felt himself fully equal to it.’
    • ‘If we do that, then these people have been successful in what they're attempting to achieve.’
    • ‘I can't see a small village in Russia achieving or even attempting that.’
    • ‘The unions have attempted throughout this difficult time to be open and honest.’
    • ‘Billy is nearly 30 but he is encouraged to attempt a comeback after he floors a man in a bar room brawl and begins to believe that he can still be a success.’
    • ‘There is always the possibility that they will attempt to achieve a medical qualification for example, in another country.’
    • ‘Glasgow may be the first European university to attempt such a venture, but it will certainly not be the last.’
    • ‘On the other hand, not to attempt to achieve an independent life is to be left out of the dominant culture.’
    • ‘He is being deliberately obscure and difficult because his work attempts to short-circuit the way you are thinking.’
    • ‘A group of six local people will attempt to climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in as short a time as possible.’
    • ‘This is the idea that one attempts to achieve enlightenment to benefit others.’
    try, strive, aim, venture, endeavour, seek, set out, do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, make an effort, make every effort, spare no effort, give one's all, take it on oneself
    have a go at, undertake, embark on, try one's hand at, try out
    give it a whirl, give it one's best shot, go all out, pull out all the stops, bend over backwards, knock oneself out, bust a gut, break one's neck, move heaven and earth, have a crack at, have a shot at, have a stab at
    give it a burl, give it a fly
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Try to climb to the top of (a mountain)
      ‘the group's next plan was to attempt Everest’
      • ‘These expeditions were the only ones to receive permission to attempt Everest from either Nepal or Tibet until the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research was granted permission from Nepal for two expeditions in 1952.’
      • ‘And in 2005, Robert and Edwin attempted Everest without oxygen, beaten back only by gale-force wind on summit day, despite feeling strong and fit.’
      • ‘Avoiding this decision is why so many who have attempted Everest's peak have perished.’
    2. 1.2archaic Try to take (a life)
      ‘he would not have attempted the life of a friend’


  • 1An act of trying to achieve something, typically one that is unsuccessful or not certain to succeed.

    [with infinitive] ‘an attempt to halt the bombings’
    ‘any attempt at talking politics ended in a fit of laughter’
    ‘an abortive coup attempt’
    • ‘The implication of such involvement was an attempt to deceive, a successful attempt at the big lie.’
    • ‘I refuse to talk about my abortive attempt at qualifying for the Hanley Cup lest I depress myself even more.’
    • ‘Perhaps most difficult of all is the attempt to achieve independence within the same field.’
    • ‘Over recent years there has been a spate of deaths in the area resulting from trampers becoming lost and rescue attempts proving difficult.’
    • ‘I passed my motorcycle test at the first attempt at the age of 17.’
    • ‘The result was less an attempt at analysis, than several dozen fragmented experiences and opinions.’
    • ‘Officials mustered a security force of thousands in the area around the hall, part of an effort to thwart any attempt at a repeat attack.’
    • ‘Any effort to aestheticize or commodify art is an attempt at censorship.’
    • ‘After many unsuccessful attempts, the first successful attempt at scaling this mountain was in 1913.’
    • ‘His half-hearted attempt at a palace coup in 1600 led to his execution.’
    • ‘The monument was erected as a tribute to three people who died trying to halt tanks during the coup attempt.’
    • ‘But it is difficult to regard these attempts as more than mere tokenism.’
    • ‘I was fortunate enough to undergo successful IVF treatment at the first attempt, resulting in the birth of twin daughters.’
    • ‘If they are to gain promotion at the first attempt they will have done it against the odds.’
    • ‘Through dry, cracked lips, I began a feeble attempt at reassurance, but was immediately interrupted.’
    • ‘This is an attempt to overturn our elections.’
    • ‘I made a small speech thanking all and sundry for their efforts, before a disastrous attempt at telling a joke.’
    • ‘The documentary, due out in the autumn, will follow a mountaineering novice on his attempt to conquer Everest.’
    • ‘Now there is very little to prevent them from making history and advancing beyond a World Cup group at the first attempt.’
    • ‘The rushing floodwaters and torrential rain made communication difficult, and rescue attempts failed repeatedly.’
    • ‘Drivers who pass their test at the first attempt should be made to do it again.’
    • ‘No one I've spoken to even cares that people were killed in the attempt.’
    effort, endeavour, try, bid, venture, trial, experiment
    crack, go, shot, stab, bash, whack
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An effort to surpass a record or conquer a mountain.
      ‘we made an attempt on the southwest buttress’
      • ‘So, before the race in Oxford, I didn't really know if we would be able to go ahead with our attempt on the record.’
      • ‘The dad-of-four had five attempts at the record over a mile-long stretch of airfield.’
      • ‘He had to postpone a previous attempt on the record at Elvington because of technical problems.’
      • ‘The entrepreneur, famed for his love of daredevil world record attempts, said he hoped to be aboard the first tourist flight into space.’
      • ‘The British Buggy Club is also using the event to make an attempt on the buggy version of the land speed record.’
      • ‘Mike was in full control of his bike at all times, but was given directions and driving advice by a friend who rode along behind him during the record attempt.’
      • ‘But, we are well situated in terms of out attempt on the mountain and in our camp.’
      • ‘My previous attempt at the record was a valiant attempt to drive the car while tied up by one leg.’
      • ‘She was always up for a challenge and continued to make record attempts until the beginning of the war.’
      • ‘So he approached Reynolds and asked to use the plane for a solo attempt on the world record.’
      • ‘Regular land speed record attempts are also held here.’
      • ‘Climbers report at least another two people have failed to return from attempts on the mountain, although their deaths have still to be confirmed.’
      • ‘It means we can never again take part in a record attempt like this.’
      • ‘He now says that his attempt on the world record will be put back at least a couple of months while he attempts to overcome the problem with the compressed air.’
      • ‘As part of this campaign they will take part in a world record attempt on April 30 this year.’
      • ‘Phil set off at 10 pm on Thursday evening in far from ideal conditions for a record attempt.’
      • ‘In the 1950s, the rules said pacemakers could not be used in record attempts.’
      • ‘They had to give up their record attempt because it was not windy enough.’
      • ‘The meeting had a massive list of international competitors and they helped to attract a creditable crowd despite the very blustery conditions which ruled out record attempts.’
      • ‘The attempt on the single-handed record could be a two-trimaran race.’
      • ‘The salt flats are not unused to record breaking attempts.’
      • ‘I have been preparing for the record attempt since Christmas.’
    2. 1.2A bid to kill someone.
      ‘Karakozov made an attempt on the tsar's life’
      • ‘This was no easy task and several attempts were made on his life by chieftains who feared that he was going to take their kingdoms.’
      • ‘But critics point out that John Paul II was not killed by the attempt on his life, as the text foretold.’
    3. 1.3A thing produced as a result of trying to make or achieve something.
      ‘her first attempt at a letter ended up in the wastebasket’
      • ‘However, this book is the first attempt at consolidating all information in one volume.’
      • ‘What was considered as an amateur attempt at photography by him, this photo turned his life forever.’
      • ‘To the right you'll see my aborted attempt at a National Poetry Month Poster Contest entry.’
      • ‘They all wore some attempt at full armour, usually the odd vest of ring mail or skull cap.’
      • ‘Here's my attempt at re-creating a salad from some Italian joint on The Hill back in St. Louis.’
      • ‘As I wait for the next workshop image, I write this article as my first attempt at humor.’
      • ‘This is my second attempt at a blog, I hadn't posted to my other one in ages and I wasn't too happy with it so I've scrapped it and started again.’
      • ‘Sue designed the website herself and for a first attempt at web design it is an ambitious project!’


Late Middle English: from Old French attempter, from Latin attemptare, from ad- to + temptare to tempt.