(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)
old college try (plural old college tries)
- (informal) A vigorous, committed attempt or effort, often in the context of a nearly hopeless situation where failure is expected.
- 1929, Munsey's Magazine, vol. 96, no. 3, p. 355:
- Those who have seen Ruth make the "old college try" understand that some professionals play with a spiritual fervor which is supposed to be the amateur's prerogative.
- 1980, T. E. Kalem, "Happy Hangover" (theatre review of Fifth of July), Time, 17 Nov.:
- Reeve gives his role the old college try—fervent amateurism.
- 2003, Keith Parsons, "Janzen takes two-shot lead in BellSouth Classic," USA Today, 6 April (retrieved 16 Aug. 2009):
- "You know, all I can do is go out there and give it the old college try and play my hardest."
- Often used in the expression give it the old college try.