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.


  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.

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


  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

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.

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