Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[uh-tempt] /əˈtɛmpt/
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.
Origin of attempt
1350-1400; Middle English < Anglo-French atempter < Latin attemptāre to test, tamper with. See at-, tempt
Related forms
attemptability, noun
attemptable, adjective
attempter, noun
quasi-attempt, verb
reattempt, verb (used with object)
unattemptable, adjective
unattempted, adjective
unattempting, adjective
well-attempted, adjective
1. See try. 4. try, endeavor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for attempting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the meantime the corporal had been picked up, and the men were attempting to recover him.

    Snarley-yow Frederick Marryat
  • One gains nothing by attempting to shut out the sprites of the weather.

    Yankee Gypsies John Greenleaf Whittier
  • The wounded buffalo ran on to the border of the next marsh, and, in attempting to cross, fell headlong down the steep bank.

    Stories of Animal Sagacity W.H.G. Kingston
  • I have told you already, so don't fly in the face of Providence by attempting to deny it!'

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Most amateurs are deterred from attempting to manufacture it, and so have to content themselves with only the simplest pieces.

British Dictionary definitions for attempting


verb (transitive)
to make an effort (to do something) or to achieve (something); try
to try to surmount (an obstacle)
to try to climb: they will attempt the north wall of the Eiger
(archaic) to attack
(archaic) to tempt
an endeavour to achieve something; effort
a result of an attempt or endeavour
an attack, esp with the intention to kill: an attempt on his life
Derived Forms
attemptable, adjective
attempter, noun
Usage note
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)
Word Origin
C14: from Old French attempter, from Latin attemptāre to strive after, from tentāre to try
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for attempting



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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for attempting

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for attempting