Attacking



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

They find vociferous support in attacking “outsiders” for taking jobs that belong, possibly by divine right, to sons of the soil.
The Irony of the Anti-Immigration Violence in Assam Dilip D’Souza August 19, 2012

That stealth offensive is widely credited with stopping Iran from attacking U.S. forces as they left Iraq.
Who’s Sabotaging Iran’s Nuclear Program? Eli Lake September 18, 2012

And perhaps, finally, it will provide some of the flowing, attacking soccer the group stage has so badly lacked.
World Cup Primer Joshua Robinson June 11, 2010

By condemning Asali for such meetings, his critics are attacking someone who talks the talk and walks the walk.
We Need to Talk Hussein Ibish May 6, 2012

This is a candidate who is hoping to change the subject by attacking his opponent.
Sunday Talk: Rahm Emanuel, Karl Rove & More (Video) The Daily Beast Video July 14, 2012

Historical Examples

Quirl now realized that they were attacking the captain’s quarters.
In the Orbit of Saturn Roman Frederick Starzl

The right of their position was nearest the attacking force.
The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage Charles G. D. Roberts

Sheridan was not quite so near, and had no thought of attacking the city.
The Boys of ’61 Charles Carleton Coffin.

And if you ask as friends, you have done us bitter wrong, by attacking us unprovoked.
Stories from Thucydides H. L. Havell

But in reality she would as soon have thought of breaking into society as of attacking twelve policemen with a carving knife.
Gargoyles Ben Hecht

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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