Lets say someone attempting to calumny, by fabricating a a written document. Can I call this event as "Calumny attempt"?

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    Its adjective is "calumnious", if that's any help. But perhaps "an attempt at calumny" is what you want to say. – WS2 May 28 '18 at 14:58
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    "calumnious" feels pretty obscure to me. It may not be understood (depending on the audience). – user184130 Jul 29 '18 at 9:07
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    @WS2: Do you call a suicide attempt a suicidal attempt? An evasion attempt an evasive attempt? You need to use a noun here, although I agree that attempt at calumny is indeed more idiomatic. – Peter Shor Jul 29 '18 at 11:55
  • @JamesRandom Obscure? Calumnious is used tenfold more often than the other adjective associated with calumny is — given that that’s calumniatory. :) – tchrist Jul 29 '18 at 20:32
  • @tchrist I could envisage speaking of 'a calumnious statement' (or 'remark' ), but I'm still not confident about 'a calumnious attempt'. It isn't the attempt that is 'calumnious', I would maintain. It is the substance of the attempt e.g 'an attempt at a calumnious story'. – WS2 Jul 30 '18 at 17:58

Yes, you can, and it is grammatical and understandable. It is probably not idiomatic. In English, two nouns are often used together this way, with the first "modifying" the second. Examples include umbrella stand, baseball game, rape attempt, murder rap (which has at least two meanings), school book, etc. When a combination is used with enough frequency, it is considered a compound noun.


The standard usages I see are:

"attempt calumny" (calumny as a verb) "attempt at calumny" (calumny as a noun) "calumnious attempt" (calumny as an adjective, as noted by WS2 above)

To clarify, the last would be best used in phrases like "A calumnious attempt to secure the fortune" and not as an object itself. If you just mean "What he did was X.", I would use "What he did was an attempt at calumny" or "attempted calumny".

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    Do you call a suicide attempt a suicidal attempt? A burglary attempt a larcenous attempt or a burglarious attempt? An escape attempt an escapist attempt or an evasive attempt? The usage should be calumny attempt, and not calumnious attempt. – Peter Shor Jul 29 '18 at 11:52
  • @Peter-Shor Yes, I've seen "suicidal attempt". However, the easiest way to set your mind at ease on this is google "a calumny attempt" (1 result in an informal message) vs. "a calumnious attempt", which includes several results in published articles. Not a lot, because the word is archaic and arcane, but definitely examples of that usage. (You have to include the "a" or you get a lot of results like "you did, by calumny, attempt" and the like.) – JKreft Jul 29 '18 at 12:32
  • looking through the Google hits, most of the hits for calumnious attempt seem to be attempts that use calumny to try to do something, and not merely attempts at calumny. For example, a calumnious attempt ,,, to injure this new undertaking and a calumnious attempt to prevent his beatification. – Peter Shor Jul 29 '18 at 13:39
  • Which is why I edited my answer to make that clear, when I responded to your comment. – JKreft Jul 29 '18 at 13:42

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