Meaning of “attempt” in the English Dictionary

"attempt" in British English

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attemptverb [ T ]

uk /əˈtempt/ us /əˈtempt/

B1 to try to do something, especially something difficult:

[ + to infinitive ] He attempted to escape through a window.
He attempted a joke, but no one laughed.
There's no point in even attempting an explanation - he'll never listen.

More examples

  • Study the examples first of all, then attempt the exercises on the next page.
  • "It would be stupid to attempt the journey in the dark." "Precisely, " he answered.
  • The pilot attempted a crash-landing on the beach.
  • The two explorers attempted an unaided walk across the South Pole.
  • Make sure the rope is firmly attached before attempting to climb down it.

attemptnoun [ C ]

uk /əˈtempt/ us /əˈtempt/

B2 the act of trying to do something, especially something difficult:

[ + to infinitive ] She made a few half-hearted attempts to join in their conversation.
He made no attempt to be sociable.
This is my second attempt at the exam.
None of our attempts at contacting Dr James was successful.
They closed the road in an attempt (= to try to) to reduce traffic in the city.
an attempt on sb's life

an act of trying to kill someone:

This is the third attempt on the President's life.

More examples

  • The government has launched a new road safety campaign in an attempt to reduce the number of road accidents.
  • My second attempt at making flaky pastry was a bit more successful.
  • They had to abandon their attempt to climb the mountain.
  • They have begun to vaccinate children in an attempt to check the spread of the disease.
  • The doctors made one last desperate attempt to save the boy's life.

(Definition of “attempt” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"attempt" in American English

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attemptverb

us /əˈtempt/

to try to make or do something:

[ T ] The team’s quarterback attempted only 12 passes during the entire game.
[ + to infinitive ] Don’t attempt to do these tricks at home.

attemptnoun [ C ]

us /əˈtemt/

the act of trying to make or do something:

[ + to infinitive ] The pilot made several attempts to regain control of the aircraft.

An attempt on someone’s life is an act of trying to kill that person:

a failed attempt on the president’s life

(Definition of “attempt” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)