a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength:
Our club has had a high rate of attrition because so many members have moved away.
a wearing down or weakening of resistance, especially as a result of continuous pressure or harassment:
The enemy surrounded the town and conducted a war of attrition.
a gradual reduction in work force without firing of personnel, as when workers resign or retire and are not replaced.
the act of rubbing against something; friction.
a wearing down or away by friction; abrasion.
Theology. imperfect contrition.
See under (def 2).
The hard, attritional fight comes in holding the ground often relatively cheaply taken.
The Marja Media War Patrick Hennessey February 16, 2010
This was a long, gutsy, attritional game played by two flawed teams who failed to force enough shots on goal.
Argentina Drops the Netherlands on Penalties in World Cup Semifinal Tunku Varadarajan July 9, 2014
the act of wearing away or the state of being worn away, as by friction
constant wearing down to weaken or destroy (often in the phrase war of attrition)
Also called natural wastage. a decrease in the size of the workforce of an organization achieved by not replacing employees who retire or resign
(geography) the grinding down of rock particles by friction during transportation by water, wind, or ice Compare abrasion (sense 3), corrasion
(theol) sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation, esp as contrasted with contrition, which arises purely from love of God
1540s, “abrasion, a scraping,” from Latin attritionem (nominative attritio), literally “a rubbing against,” noun of action from past participle stem of atterere “to wear, rub away,” figuratively “to destroy, waste,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + terere “to rub” (see throw (v.)). The earliest sense in English is from Scholastic theology (late 14c.), “sorrow for sin merely out of fear of punishment,” a minor irritation, and thus less than contrition. The sense of “wearing down of military strength” is a World War I coinage (1914). Figurative use by 1930.
attrition at·tri·tion (ə-trĭsh’ən)
A wearing away by friction or rubbing, such as the loss of tooth structure caused by abrasive foods or grinding of the teeth.
to wear down (an opposing military force) by numerical superiority in troops or firepower. verb (US, slang) (transitive) -trits, -tritting, -tritted to wear down or dispose of gradually to kill v. 1956, U.S. Air Force back-formation from attrition which attained currency during the Vietnam War. (A 17c. attempt at a verb produced attrite). Related: Attrited; […]
the westernmost of the Aleutian Islands: Japanese occupation 1942–43. Historical Examples The finest work of Attu and Atka is woven entirely under water. Alaska Ella Higginson The Attu weaver uses the stems and leaves of grass, having no trees and few plants. Alaska Ella Higginson Some real Attu and Atka baskets were found here at […]
Crispus [kris-puh s] /ˈkrɪs pəs/ (Show IPA), 1723?–70, American patriot, probably a fugitive slave, killed in the Boston Massacre. Historical Examples Attucks fell, his face to the foe, with two bullets in his breast. Masterpieces of Negro Eloquence Various From time to time Attucks’ voice could be heard urging his companions on. Masterpieces of Negro […]
- Attucks, crispus
attucks, crispus Attucks, Crispus [(at-uhks)] A black sailor killed in the Boston Massacre. Note: It is said that he was among the first Americans to die in the struggle for liberty.