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试图 (shìtú) (动) 打算:~闯出一条新路。
现代汉语词典

The above is the definition of 试图 in my copy of 《现代汉语词典》. I don't know how to make sense of this, because 试图 and 打算 don't seem even remotely synonymous.

CC-CEDICT: 试图 (shì​tú​) to attempt / to try
CC-CEDICT: 打算 (dǎ​suàn​) to plan / to intend / to calculate / plan / intention / calculation / CL: 個|个

(Here's the definition of 打算 from the same dictionary: the verb definition is 计划;考虑.)

I've had all sorts of trouble with 试图 (see this and this), and maybe this is related.

Question: Why does my dictionary define 试图 ("to attempt") as 打算 ("to plan")?

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    As a native speaker, I feel the difference between them are mostly on tense: When you say 打算, it's normally not happen yet. but 试图 means you've tried something in action, not just in your mind.
    – Steven.Xi
    Commented Mar 22 at 15:46
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    Wiktionary also defines 试图 as both ‘attempt’ and ‘intend’, which fits well with my understanding of the word. It doesn’t necessarily imply an attempt actually being made, but can refer to a hypothetical attempt that is expected to be made at some point – which is very close to ‘intend’. I would understand the example as describing an intention to carve out a new road, rather than any specific attempt at doing so. Commented Mar 22 at 15:54

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Question:- Why does my dictionary define 试图 ("to attempt") as 打算 ("to plan")?

I think it is more a problem of accurate translation across languages, rather than trying, attempting to reconcile the two Chinese words on their own.

The two words are seldom, if ever, used interchangeably in Chinese sentences. Once again context is everything.

So, when used in a Chinese sentence, my view is:-

First, the commonality. Both words means / implies that some action is in contemplation of execution.

However, it is the degree of commitment to that action that distinguishes the two.

In 试图, defining it as "attempt" is accurate as in the event that there is a likelihood of failure, an immediate stop is much preferred.

In 打算, the commitment is stronger, and more effort will be employed when unexpected obstacles are encountered, that's because in 算, careful "calculations" have been made and the chances of failure is much reduced.

Having said that, why does your dictionary define 试图 ("to attempt") as 打算 ("to plan")?

That's because in order to "plan", "打算", anything, especially in the analogue age, you need to draw some kind of drawing, a picture, a battle plan on a piece of paper or cowhide, hence 图 is in there, and 试, "try", is there to see how the plan may work out, at least on paper.

However this is where the commonality ends. And the context, as always, would dictate which to use in a Chinese sentence.

As a general guide on usage:-

  1. One could use 试图 as one would use 试看, "try and see", like, “让我们试看一下,看看事情进展如何”, “Let’s give it a try and see how things go from there”

  2. Whereas 打算 is used when you wish to give the impression that a strong commitment is being made to take certain planned action and see things to the bitter end. Example:- 无论如何,我打算给自己找一份高薪工作, "No matter what, I plan to find myself a high-paying job"

Finally, 打算 is also commonly used as an inquiry in the form of a question, like, 您打算移民到瑞典吗?"Are you planning to emigrate to Sweden?"

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I don't think the dictionary is saying 打算, I think it is saying 打 算--> if you read them with individual meanings of engage//perform (a) calculation//plan.

Regardless, I think it is a bad choice, on its own. Actually, two of my chinese dictionaries also have this, but with further explanation for clarity:

打算(做某種事情)。

and

打算:試圖改善雙方的關係。

respectively. Only one of my canto dictionary doesn't use this reference.

指嘗試,不過比較正式

So I don't think its necessarily bad to use it, but just the entry itself is lacking, if that makes sense. It reminds me of famous bad english dictionary entries, like regretful being defined as "full of regret".... basically just mocking you for not already knowing the word unintentionally lol. I think all dictionaries have a few bad entries, even if very good overall.

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Not just your dictionary!

https://cidian.gushici.net/dc/b8f53096e182.html

试图 shìtú
[try;attempt;intend] 打算
试图表明存在一种真正的科学语言
敌人试图突围,但没有得逞

https://www.zhonghuazidian.com/zi/%E8%AF%95%E5%9B%BE 试图:

打算:试图闯出一条新路。

2 possible conclusions:

  1. These dictionaries are all wrong, copying each others mistake.
  2. 1 meaning of 打算 is 试图.

I think that intend can mean try. (We don't always get what we want!)

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