give (something) the (old) college try

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give (something) the (old) college try

To attempt or try something. I gave knitting the old college try, but I just didn't enjoy it. Give it the college try and I think you'll find that it's easier than you think.
See also: college, give, try
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give something the old college try

AMERICAN, OLD-FASHIONED
If you give something the old college try, you make a great effort to succeed, even if this is not possible. Despite the failure of her last movie, she is still giving acting the old college try.
See also: college, give, old, something, try
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

old college try, (give it) the

Do the best you can, even if you think it’s a hopeless cause. This slangy Americanism dates from the 1930s when college football films became very popular in the United States. The phrase was one of the cheers intended to urge on a team that was falling behind or facing overwhelming odds. Transferred to other endeavors, it came to be used more or less ironically.
See also: college, old
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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