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tr.v. at·tempt·ed, at·tempt·ing, at·tempts
1. To try to perform, make, or achieve: attempted to read the novel in one sitting; attempted a difficult dive.
2. Archaic To tempt.
3. Archaic To try to seize or get control of by attacking.
1. An effort or a try.
2. An attack; an assault: an attempt on someone's life.

[Middle English attempten, from Old French attempter, from Latin attemptāre : ad-, ad- + temptāre, to test.]

at·tempt′a·ble adj.
at·tempt′er n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


vb (tr)
1. to make an effort (to do something) or to achieve (something); try
2. to try to surmount (an obstacle)
3. (Mountaineering) to try to climb: they will attempt the north wall of the Eiger.
4. archaic to attack
5. archaic to tempt
6. an endeavour to achieve something; effort
7. a result of an attempt or endeavour
8. an attack, esp with the intention to kill: an attempt on his life.
[C14: from Old French attempter, from Latin attemptāre to strive after, from tentāre to try]
atˈtemptable adj
atˈtempter n
Usage: Attempt should not be used in the passive when followed by an infinitive: attempts were made to find a solution (not a solution was attempted to be found)
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. to make an effort at; try; undertake: to attempt a difficult task.
2. Archaic. to attack; move against in a hostile manner: to attempt a person's life.
3. Archaic. to tempt.
4. an effort made to accomplish something.
5. an attack or assault: an attempt on a person's life.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French atempter < Latin attemptāre to test, tamper with. See at-, tempt]
at•tempt′a•ble, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



Both these words can be verbs or nouns. The other forms of try are tries, trying, tried.

1. 'try' used as a verb

If you try to do something, you make an effort to do it.

My sister tried to cheer me up.
He was trying his best to understand.

You can also try and do something. There is no difference in meaning, but try and do is used in conversation and less formal writing. In formal English, use try to do.

Try and see how many of these questions you can answer.
Please try and help me to cope with this.
We must try and understand.

Be Careful!
You can only use and after the base form of try – that is, when you are using it as an imperative or infinitive, or after a modal. You cannot say, for example, 'I was trying and help her' or 'I was trying and helping her'.

If you try doing something, you do it in order to find out how useful, effective, or enjoyable it is.

He tried changing the subject.
Have you ever tried painting?
2. 'attempt' used as a verb

If you attempt to do something, you try to do it. Attempt is a more formal word than try.

Some of the crowd attempted to break through the police lines.
Rescue workers attempted to cut him from the crashed vehicle.

Be Careful!
You don't say 'The crowd attempted and break through or 'The crowd attempted breaking through'.

3. 'try' and 'attempt' used as nouns

When someone tries to do something, you can refer to what they do as a try or an attempt. Try is normally used only in conversation and less formal writing. In formal English, you usually talk about an attempt.

After a few tries they gave up.
The young birds manage to fly several kilometres at their first attempt.

You say that someone has a try at something or gives something a try.

You've had a good try at it.
'I'll go and see him in the morning.' – 'Yes, give it a try.'

You say that someone makes an attempt to do something.

He made an attempt to call Courtney; she wasn't in.
Two recent reports made an attempt to assess the success of the project.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


Past participle: attempted
Gerund: attempting

I attempt
you attempt
he/she/it attempts
we attempt
you attempt
they attempt
I attempted
you attempted
he/she/it attempted
we attempted
you attempted
they attempted
Present Continuous
I am attempting
you are attempting
he/she/it is attempting
we are attempting
you are attempting
they are attempting
Present Perfect
I have attempted
you have attempted
he/she/it has attempted
we have attempted
you have attempted
they have attempted
Past Continuous
I was attempting
you were attempting
he/she/it was attempting
we were attempting
you were attempting
they were attempting
Past Perfect
I had attempted
you had attempted
he/she/it had attempted
we had attempted
you had attempted
they had attempted
I will attempt
you will attempt
he/she/it will attempt
we will attempt
you will attempt
they will attempt
Future Perfect
I will have attempted
you will have attempted
he/she/it will have attempted
we will have attempted
you will have attempted
they will have attempted
Future Continuous
I will be attempting
you will be attempting
he/she/it will be attempting
we will be attempting
you will be attempting
they will be attempting
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been attempting
you have been attempting
he/she/it has been attempting
we have been attempting
you have been attempting
they have been attempting
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been attempting
you will have been attempting
he/she/it will have been attempting
we will have been attempting
you will have been attempting
they will have been attempting
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been attempting
you had been attempting
he/she/it had been attempting
we had been attempting
you had been attempting
they had been attempting
I would attempt
you would attempt
he/she/it would attempt
we would attempt
you would attempt
they would attempt
Past Conditional
I would have attempted
you would have attempted
he/she/it would have attempted
we would have attempted
you would have attempted
they would have attempted
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.attempt - earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish somethingattempt - earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something; "made an effort to cover all the reading material"; "wished him luck in his endeavor"; "she gave it a good try"
batting - (baseball) the batter's attempt to get on base
best - the supreme effort one can make; "they did their best"
worst - the weakest effort or poorest achievement one is capable of; "it was the worst he had ever done on a test"
activity - any specific behavior; "they avoided all recreational activity"
bid, play - an attempt to get something; "they made a futile play for power"; "he made a bid to gain attention"
fling, go, offer, whirl, crack, pass - a usually brief attempt; "he took a crack at it"; "I gave it a whirl"
essay - a tentative attempt
foray - an initial attempt (especially outside your usual areas of competence); "scientists' forays into politics"
contribution, share, part - the part played by a person in bringing about a result; "I am proud of my contribution in advancing the project"; "they all did their share of the work"
liberation - the attempt to achieve equal rights or status; "she worked for women's liberation"
mug's game - a futile or unprofitable endeavor
power play, squeeze play, squeeze - an aggressive attempt to compel acquiescence by the concentration or manipulation of power; "she laughed at this sexual power play and walked away"
seeking - an attempt to acquire or gain something
stab, shot - informal words for any attempt or effort; "he gave it his best shot"; "he took a stab at forecasting"
shot - an attempt to score in a game
nisus, pains, striving, strain - an effortful attempt to attain a goal
struggle, battle - an energetic attempt to achieve something; "getting through the crowd was a real struggle"; "he fought a battle for recognition"
takeover attempt - an attempt to take control of a corporation
trial, run, test - the act of testing something; "in the experimental trials the amount of carbon was measured separately"; "he called each flip of the coin a new trial"
trial, test - the act of undergoing testing; "he survived the great test of battle"; "candidates must compete in a trial of skill"
2.attempt - the act of attacking; "attacks on women increased last year"; "they made an attempt on his life"
crime, criminal offence, criminal offense, law-breaking, offense, offence - (criminal law) an act punishable by law; usually considered an evil act; "a long record of crimes"
assault - a threatened or attempted physical attack by someone who appears to be able to cause bodily harm if not stopped
Verb1.attempt - make an effort or attemptattempt - make an effort or attempt; "He tried to shake off his fears"; "The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"; "The police attempted to stop the thief"; "He sought to improve himself"; "She always seeks to do good in the world"
pick up the gauntlet, take a dare - be dared to do something and attempt it
act, move - perform an action, or work out or perform (an action); "think before you act"; "We must move quickly"; "The governor should act on the new energy bill"; "The nanny acted quickly by grabbing the toddler and covering him with a wet towel"
struggle, fight - make a strenuous or labored effort; "She struggled for years to survive without welfare"; "He fought for breath"
have a go, give it a try - make an attempt at something; "I never sat on a horse before but I'll give it a go"
grope - search blindly or uncertainly; "His mind groped to make the connection"
endeavor, endeavour, strive - attempt by employing effort; "we endeavor to make our customers happy"
give it a try, give it a whirl - try; "let's give it a whirl!"
adventure, gamble, run a risk, take a chance, take chances, risk, chance, hazard - take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome; "When you buy these stocks you are gambling"
lay on the line, put on the line, risk - expose to a chance of loss or damage; "We risked losing a lot of money in this venture"; "Why risk your life?"; "She laid her job on the line when she told the boss that he was wrong"
2.attempt - enter upon an activity or enterpriseattempt - enter upon an activity or enterprise
initiate, pioneer - take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of; "This South African surgeon pioneered heart transplants"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. try, seek, aim, struggle, tackle, take on, experiment, venture, undertake, essay, strive, endeavour, have a go at (informal), make an effort, make an attempt, have a crack at, have a shot at (informal), try your hand at, do your best to, jump through hoops (informal), have a stab at (informal), take the bit between your teeth We attempted to do something like that here.
1. try, go (informal), shot (informal), effort, trial, bid, experiment, crack (informal), venture, undertaking, essay, stab (informal), endeavour a deliberate attempt to destabilize defence
2. attack, assault, strike, offensive an attempt on the life of the Prime Minister
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


To make an attempt to do or make:
1. A trying to do or make something:
Informal: shot.
Slang: take.
Archaic: assay.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
مُحَاوَلةمُحاوَلَههُجوم، مُحاولَةيُحاوِليُحاوِلُ
pokuspokusit sezkusitatentát
forsøgforsøgeforsøge sig påprøveangreb
कोशिशकोशिश करना
reyna, gera tilrauntilræîitilraun
mēģinājumsmēģinātslepkavības mēģinājumsuzbrukums
girişimkalkışmaköldürmeye çalışmateşebbüsteşebbüs etmek
کوششکوشش کرنا
cố gắngsự cố gắng


A. N
1. (= try) → intento m
we'll do it or die in the attemptlo haremos o moriremos en el intento
at the first attempten el primer intento
this is my first attemptes la primera vez que lo intento
after several attempts they gave uptras varios intentos or varias tentativas, se dieron por vencidos
we had to give up the attempttuvimos que renunciar a la empresa
it was a good attemptfue un esfuerzo digno de alabanza
to make an attempt to do sthhacer una tentativa de hacer algo, intentar hacer algo
he made no attempt to helpni siquiera intentó ayudar
he made two attempts at itlo intentó dos veces
to make an attempt on the recordtratar de batir el récord
to make an attempt on the summittratar de llegar a la cumbre
2. (= attack) → atentado m
to make an attempt on sb's lifeatentar contra la vida de algn
1. [+ task] → intentar realizar; [+ exam question] → intentar responder a
to attempt a replyintentar responder, tratar de responder
to attempt a smileintentar sonreír
to attempt suicideintentar suicidarse
2. (= try) to attempt to do sthtratar de or intentar or (esp LAm) procurar hacer algo
the pilot attempted to landel piloto trató de aterrizar
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


ntentative f
She gave up after several attempts → Elle y a renoncé après plusieurs tentatives.
an attempt to do sth → une tentative de faire qch
to make no attempt to do sth → ne rien faire pour faire qch
He made no attempt to help me → Il n'a rien fait pour m'aider.
an attempt at sth
He made an attempt at humour → Il a essayé de faire de l'humour., Il a essayé de plaisanter.
at the first attempt → du premier coup, à la première tentative
on the first attempt (during)lors de la première tentative
to make an attempt on sb's life → attenter à la vie de qn
vtessayer, tenter
He attempted a smile → Il tenta de sourire.
to attempt to do sth → essayer de faire qch, chercher à faire qch
I attempted to write a song → J'ai essayé d'écrire une chanson.
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


vtversuchen; smile, conversationden Versuch machen or unternehmen zu; task, jobsich versuchen an (+dat); attempted murderMordversuch m; attempted suicideSelbstmordversuch m
nVersuch m; (on sb’s life) → (Mord)anschlag m (→ on auf +acc); an attempt on Mount Everest/the recordein Versuch, Mount Everest zu bezwingen/den Rekord zu brechen; an attempt at a joke/at doing somethingein Versuch, einen Witz zu machen/etw zu tun; to make an attempt on somebody’s lifeeinen Anschlag auf jdn or jds Leben verüben; to make an attempt at doing something or to do somethingversuchen, etw zu tun; he made no attempt to help user unternahm keinen Versuch, uns zu helfen; at the first attemptauf Anhieb, beim ersten Versuch; in the attemptdabei
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. n (try) → tentativo
he made no attempt to help → non ha (neanche) tentato or cercato di aiutare
to make an attempt on sb's life → attentare alla vita di qn
2. vt to attempt sth/to do sthtentare qc/di fare qc
he attempted the exam → ha tentato l'esame
attempted murder (Law) → tentato omicidio
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(əˈtempt) verb
to try. He attempted to reach the dying man, but did not succeed; He did not attempt the last question in the exam.
1. a try. They failed in their attempt to climb the Everest; She made no attempt to run away.
2. an attack. They made an attempt on his life but he survived.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


مُحَاوَلة, يُحاوِلُ pokus, pokusit se forsøg, forsøge Versuch, versuchen απόπειρα, επιχειρώ intentar, intento yrittää, yritys tentative, tenter pokušaj, pokušati tentare, tentativo 試み, 試みる 시도, 시도하다 poging, proberen forsøk, forsøke próba, spróbować tentar, tentativa попытка, пытаться försök, försöka ความพยายาม, พยายาม girişim, kalkışmak cố gắng, sự cố gắng 尝试, 试图
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


vt. intentar, tratar de obtener algo; hacer un esfuerzo; esforzarse, arriesgarse.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
Instead of progressing in a sane and dignified manner, my attempts to walk resulted in a variety of hops which took me clear of the ground a couple of feet at each step and landed me sprawling upon my face or back at the end of each second or third hop.
No, I repeat again, that nothing shall induce me to renew attempts evidently at variance with the Almighty's pleasure."
It would have been idle for me to have attempted resuming the interview so peremptorily terminated by Marnoo, who was evidently little disposed to compromise his own safety by any rash endeavour to ensure mine.
They might have copied the second article of the existing Confederation, which would have prohibited the exercise of any power not EXPRESSLY delegated; they might have attempted a positive enumeration of the powers comprehended under the general terms "necessary and proper"; they might have attempted a negative enumeration of them, by specifying the powers excepted from the general definition; they might have been altogether silent on the subject, leaving these necessary and proper powers to construction and inference.
"What affair?" Richardson demanded, with a very weak attempt at bluster.
The following relation is so curious and entertaining, and the dissertations that accompany it so judicious and instructive, that the translator is confident his attempt stands in need of no apology, whatever censures may fall on the performance.
Foiled in this direction, the lawyer next advised making the attempt to discover the present address of Lady Montbarry's English maid.
He stood head-on eyeing us as we approached him, for we had found it a waste of time to attempt to escape the perpetual bestial rage which seems to possess these demon creatures, who rove the dismal north attacking every living thing that comes within the scope of their far-seeing eyes.
Even had the opposite banks, therefore, been such as to permit a continuance of their journey, it would have been madness to attempt to pass the tumultuous current either on rafts or otherwise.
The child (a little boy, apparently about five years old) scrambled up to the top of the wall, and called again and again; but finding this of no avail, apparently made up his mind, like Mahomet, to go to the mountain, since the mountain would not come to him, and attempted to get over; but a crabbed old cherry-tree, that grew hard by, caught him by the frock in one of its crooked scraggy arms that stretched over the wall.
Fear might drive him to the attempt now that he knew the manner of horrible pack that was upon his trail, and that Tarzan of the Apes was following him to wreak upon him the vengeance that he deserved.
He came back, clawing frantically up the slope that gave him little footing; and he came back, no longer with poorly attempted simulation of ferocity, but impelled by the first flickerings of real ferocity.