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verb (used with object)
  1. to make an effort at; try; undertake; seek: to attempt an impossible task; to attempt to walk six miles.
  2. Archaic. to attack; move against in a hostile manner: to attempt a person's life.
  3. Archaic. to tempt.
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  1. an effort made to accomplish something: He made an attempt to swim across the lake.
  2. an attack or assault: an attempt upon the leader's life.
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Origin of attempt

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French atempter < Latin attemptāre to test, tamper with. See at-, tempt
Related formsat·tempt·a·bil·i·ty, nounat·tempt·a·ble, adjectiveat·tempt·er, nounqua·si-at·tempt, verbre·at·tempt, verb (used with object)un·at·tempt·a·ble, adjectiveun·at·tempt·ed, adjectiveun·at·tempt·ing, adjectivewell-at·tempt·ed, adjective

Synonyms for attempt

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1. See try. 4. try, endeavor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for attempted

pursue, tackle, seek, solicit, undertake, essay, aim, attack, experiment, venture, push, endeavor, strive

Examples from the Web for attempted

Contemporary Examples of attempted

Historical Examples of attempted

  • Attempted fratricide is not a common happening in gentle families.


    William J. Locke

  • If he had been strong he would have attempted to break her at once, but he was not strong.

  • This was the first time I ever attempted to escape and gain my freedom.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • She essayed to introduce Gracie; not one of them attempted a bow.

  • Had he been on this side of the water he might have attempted something upon us.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for attempted


verb (tr)
  1. to make an effort (to do something) or to achieve (something); try
  2. to try to surmount (an obstacle)
  3. to try to climbthey will attempt the north wall of the Eiger
  4. archaic to attack
  5. archaic to tempt
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  1. an endeavour to achieve something; effort
  2. a result of an attempt or endeavour
  3. an attack, esp with the intention to killan attempt on his life
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Derived Formsattemptable, adjectiveattempter, noun

Word Origin for attempt

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


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

Word Origin and History for attempted



late 14c., from Old French attempter (14c.), earlier atenter "to try, attempt, test," from Latin attemptare "to try" (cf. Italian attentare, Old Provençal, Portuguese attentar, Spanish atentar), from ad- "to, upon" (see ad-) + temptare "to try" (see tempt). Related: Attempted; attempting.

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1530s, from attempt (v.). Meaning "effort to accomplish something by violence" is from 1580s, especially as an assault on someone's life.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper