Attack



to set upon in a forceful, violent, hostile, or aggressive way, with or without a weapon; begin fighting with:
He attacked him with his bare hands.
to begin hostilities against; start an offensive against:
to attack the enemy.
to blame or abuse violently or bitterly.
to direct unfavorable criticism against; criticize severely; argue with strongly:
He attacked his opponent’s statement.
to try to destroy, especially with verbal abuse:
to attack the mayor’s reputation.
to set about (a task) or go to work on (a thing) vigorously:
to attack housecleaning; to attack the hamburger hungrily.
(of disease, destructive agencies, etc.) to begin to affect.
to make an attack; begin hostilities.
the act of attacking; onslaught; assault.
a military offensive against an enemy or enemy position.
Pathology. seizure by disease or illness:
an attack of indigestion.
the beginning or initiating of any action; onset.
an aggressive move in a performance or contest.
the approach or manner of approach in beginning a musical phrase.
Contemporary Examples

His phone rang, when he got out of the shower “Berkut is about to attack Maidan,” his friends told him.
Kiev’s Military Guardian Angels Anna Nemtsova December 12, 2013

Was this deliberate strategy, to attack children who were even more defenseless than the average child?
Alex Gibney’s ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’: Sex, Lies, and the Catholic Church Michael Moynihan February 3, 2013

The attack killed two U.S. Marines and destroyed millions of dollars worth of military equipment.
Afghanistan: Of Blasphemy and Suicide Bombers Sami Yousafzai September 17, 2012

He said that the attack was meant to punish the navy for having refused to release the imprisoned al Qaeda operatives.
Al Qaeda Commander Ilyas Kashmiri Killed in U.S. Predator Strike Ron Moreau & Sami Yousafzai, Christopher Dickey June 3, 2011

Hamas spokesmen stand by the hospital gates and denounce the attack on Al Shejaiya as a massacre and vow to fight on.
Palestinians Fleeing Israeli Bombardment in Gaza Have ‘Nowhere Left to Run’ Jesse Rosenfeld July 19, 2014

Historical Examples

And yet on the third day after the attack the town had fallen!
Two Daring Young Patriots W. P. Shervill

The strong man must at all times be alert to the attack of insidious disease.
United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches Various

Kars, attack on, 332;march of the wounded prisoners from, 333.
Under the Red Crescent Charles S. Ryan

These attack you—but run—at least the tiger, not the elephant, when you go out after him.
Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald

Besides, what of the traitor who induced the tribesmen to attack us?
In the grip of the Mullah F. S. Brereton

verb
to launch a physical assault (against) with or without weapons; begin hostilities (with)
(intransitive) to take the initiative in a game, sport, etc: after a few minutes, the team began to attack
(transitive) to direct hostile words or writings at; criticize or abuse vehemently
(transitive) to turn one’s mind or energies vigorously to (a job, problem, etc)
(transitive) to begin to injure or affect adversely; corrode, corrupt, or infect: rust attacked the metal
(transitive) to attempt to rape
noun
the act or an instance of attacking
strong criticism or abuse: an unjustified attack on someone’s reputation
an offensive move in a game, sport, etc
commencement of a task, etc
any sudden and usually severe manifestation of a disease or disorder: a heart attack, an attack of indigestion
(ball games) the attack, the players in a team whose main role is to attack the opponents’ goal or territory
(music) decisiveness in beginning a passage, movement, or piece
(music) the speed with which a note reaches its maximum volume
an attempted rape
v.

c.1600, from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) “join (battle),” thus the word is a doublet of attach, which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Related: Attacked; attacking.
n.

1660s, from attack (v.). Cf. Middle English attach “a seizure or attack” (of fever), late 14c.

attack at·tack (ə-tāk’)
n.
An episode or onset of a disease, often sudden in nature.
at·tack’ v.

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