[ uh-tempt ]
/ əˈtɛmpt /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: attempt / attempted / attempting / attempts on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
to make an effort at; try; undertake; seek: to attempt an impossible task; to attempt to walk six miles.
Archaic. to attack; move against in a hostile manner: to attempt a person's life.
Archaic. to tempt.
an effort made to accomplish something: He made an attempt to swim across the lake.
an attack or assault: an attempt upon the leader's life.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of attempt

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English from Anglo-French atempter from Latin attemptāre “to test, tamper with.” See at-, tempt

synonym study for attempt

1. See try.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does attempt mean?

An attempt is an effort made to complete a task, as in My attempt to go to the concert failed when my car broke down.

To attempt means to try to complete a task, as in When Riddhi attempted to run to better her health, she found that she really enjoyed it too.

When you attempt something, you are making some kind of effort, whether or not you succeed. To attempt is to try.

Example: Louise attempted to make bread, but she forgot to add yeast to the recipe.

Where does attempt come from?

The first records of the term attempt come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin attemptāre, meaning “to test or tamper with.” When you attempt something, you test your ability to do that thing.

Less commonly, an attempt is also an attack, especially an attack that is meant to kill. If someone makes an attempt on a leader’s life, for example, it means that someone tried to kill that leader. When a murder or other crime is tried but fails, we call that an attempted crime, such as attempted murder or attempted robbery, and the person who made the attempt may be found guilty of breaking the law.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to attempt?

  • attemtability (noun)
  • attemptable (adjective)
  • attempter (noun)
  • unattempted (adjective)

What are some synonyms for attempt?

What are some words that share a root or word element with attempt?

What are some words that often get used in discussing attempt?

How is attempt used in real life?

Attempt is another way to say “try.”


Try using attempt!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for attempt?

A. neglect
B. seek
C. try
D. undertake

How to use attempt in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for attempt

/ (əˈtɛmpt) /

verb (tr)

Derived forms of attempt

attemptable, adjectiveattempter, noun

Word Origin for attempt

C14: from Old French attempter, from Latin attemptāre to strive after, from tentāre to try

usage for attempt

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 & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012