I. transitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French attempter, from Latin attemptare, from ad- + temptare to touch, try — more at tempt
Date: 14th century
1. to make an effort to do, accomplish, solve, or effect <attempted to swim the swollen river> 2. archaic tempt 3. archaic to try to subdue or take by force ; attack • attemptable adjective Synonyms: attempt, try, endeavor, essay, strive mean to make an effort to accomplish an end. attempt stresses the initiation or beginning of an effort <will attempt to photograph the rare bird>. try is often close to attempt but may stress effort or experiment made in the hope of testing or proving something <tried to determine which was the better procedure>. endeavor heightens the implications of exertion and difficulty <endeavored to find crash survivors in the mountains>. essay implies difficulty but also suggests tentative trying or experimenting <will essay a dramatic role for the first time>. strive implies great exertion against great difficulty and specifically suggests persistent effort <continues to strive for peace>. II. noun Date: 1534 1. a. the act or an instance of attempting; especially an unsuccessful effort b. something resulting from or representing an attempt <surrounded by…a few attempts at rose bushes — Marian Engel> 2. attack, assault <an attempt on the life of the president>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.