[ uh-tempt ]
See synonyms for: attemptattemptedattemptingattempts on

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.

  1. Archaic. to tempt.

  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.

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.

Other words for attempt

Other words from attempt

  • at·tempt·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • at·tempt·a·ble, adjective
  • at·tempt·er, noun
  • qua·si-at·tempt, verb
  • re·at·tempt, verb (used with object)
  • un·at·tempt·a·ble, adjective
  • un·at·tempt·ed, adjective
  • un·at·tempt·ing, adjective
  • well-at·tempt·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use attempt in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for attempt


/ (əˈtɛmpt) /

  1. to make an effort (to do something) or to achieve (something); try

  2. to try to surmount (an obstacle)

  1. to try to climb: they will attempt the north wall of the Eiger

  2. archaic to attack

  3. archaic to tempt

  1. an endeavour to achieve something; effort

  2. a result of an attempt or endeavour

  1. an attack, esp with the intention to kill: an attempt on his life

Origin of 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)

Derived forms of attempt

  • attemptable, adjective
  • attempter, noun

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