Attempt vs Caution - What's the difference?

attempt | caution |

As verbs the difference between attempt and caution

is that attempt is to try while caution is to warn; to alert, advise that caution is warranted.

As nouns the difference between attempt and caution

is that attempt is the action of trying at something while caution is precept or warning against evil or danger of any kind; exhortation to wariness; advice; injunction.




(en verb)
  • To try.
  • I attempted to sing, but my throat was too hoarse.
    to attempt an escape from prison
  • * Longfellow
  • Something attempted , something done, / Has earned a night's repose.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=July-August, author= Sarah Glaz
  • , title= Ode to Prime Numbers , volume=101, issue=4, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Some poems, echoing the purpose of early poetic treatises on scientific principles, attempt to elucidate the mathematical concepts that underlie prime numbers. Others play with primes’ cultural associations. Still others derive their structure from mathematical patterns involving primes.}}
  • (obsolete) To try to move, by entreaty, by afflictions, or by temptations; to tempt.
  • * Thackeray
  • It made the laughter of an afternoon / That Vivien should attempt the blameless king.
  • (archaic) To try to win, subdue, or overcome.
  • one who attempts the virtue of a woman
  • * Shakespeare
  • Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further: / Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute.
  • (archaic) To attack; to make an effort or attack upon; to try to take by force.
  • to attempt the enemy's camp
  • * Motley
  • without attempting his adversary's life

    Usage notes

    * This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive . See


    * take a stab at, take a run at


    (en noun)
  • The action of trying at something.
  • * We made an attempt to cross the stream, but didn't manage.
  • * This poem is much better than the feeble attempt of mine.
  • * It was worth the attempt .
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2012-03
  • , author=William E. Carter, Merri Sue Carter , title=The British Longitude Act Reconsidered , volume=100, issue=2, page=87 , magazine= citation , passage=But was it responsible governance to pass the Longitude Act without other efforts to protect British seamen? Or might it have been subterfuge—a disingenuous attempt to shift attention away from the realities of their life at sea}}
  • An assault or attack, especially an assassination attempt.
  • * 1584' ''No man can charge us of any '''attempt against the realm. (Allen's Defence Of English Catholics, cited after Edinburgh review 1883, p. 378)
  • Usage notes

    * Adjectives often applied to "attempt": first, failed, desperate, last, half-hearted, unsuccessful, serious, successful, feeble, new, honest, vain, sincere, ambitious, earnest, clumsy, direct, hard, brilliant, official, useless, clever, sophisticated, amateurish.


    * effort * try






    (en noun)
  • Precept or warning against evil or danger of any kind; exhortation to wariness; advice; injunction.
  • * Shakespeare
  • In way of caution I must tell you.
  • A careful attention to the probable effects of an act, in order that failure or harm may be avoided; prudence in regard to danger; provident care; wariness.
  • Security; guaranty; bail.
  • * Clarendon
  • The Parliament would yet give his majesty sufficient caution that the war should be prosecuted.
  • One who gives rise to attention or astonishment.
  • Oh, that boy, he's a caution ! He does make me laugh.
  • A formal warning given as an alternative to prosecution in minor cases.
  • Synonyms

    * See also

    Derived terms

    * err on the side of caution * throw caution to the wind


    (en verb)
  • To warn; to alert, advise that caution is warranted.
  • Anagrams

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