I humbly propose bringing back the word endeavor.
I cannot speak knowledgeably about the worldwide use of the word endeavor (or endeavour), but here in the U.S., it carries a stilted, dated vibe that causes it to be avoided.
In fact the word is dated, in that famous dates are attached to it: (1) between 1768 and 1771, James Cook sailed HMS Endeavour, a ship in the British Royal Navy, on a voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand; (2) between 1992 and 2011, U.S. astronauts flew the space shuttle Endeavour—named after HMS Endeavour—on space missions.
While these are very cool attributions, they do carry an aura of the historical past—even the space shuttle instance, though it is quite recent.
Nevertheless, we must push forward unto the great, unknown reinvigoration of the word. It is grammatically versatile, having functions as both verb and noun: They endeavored to bring it back. (v.), It was a successful endeavor. (n.).
But the better argument in its favor is that all of its modern-sounding synonyms carry unwanted baggage:
- strive (v.), striving (n.)—connotation of strenuous effort
- work (v.), work (n.)—connotation of effort and employment
- try (v.), try (n.)—connotation of repeated failures
- aim (v.), aim (n.)—connotation of shooting
- attempt (v.), attempt (n.)—connotation of failure and murder
- undertake (v.), undertaking (n.)—connotation of a dead body
Endeavor’s baggage is mild in comparison! Plus, with increasing use, the dated feel of the word will fade.
I especially love the neutrality of endeavor. It implies neither success nor failure, neither effort nor ease. It merely states that someone has an impulse to do something and is following through—no matter how easy or difficult, or likely to succeed or fail, it may turn out to be.
Will you join me in my endeavor to bring the word back? (See the first sentence of my recent post Blocked!)