verb (used with object)
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.
verb (used without object)
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.
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
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
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.
1660s, from attack (v.). Cf. Middle English attach “a seizure or attack” (of fever), late 14c.
attack at·tack (ə-tāk’)
An episode or onset of a disease, often sudden in nature.
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