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verb at·tack \ə-ˈtak\

Simple Definition of attack

  • : to act violently against (someone or something) : to try to hurt, injure, or destroy (something or someone)

  • : to criticize (someone or something) in a very harsh and severe way

  • : to begin to work on or deal with (something, such as a problem) in a determined and eager way

Full Definition of attack

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to set upon or work against forcefully

  3. 2 :  to assail with unfriendly or bitter words

  4. 3 :  to begin to affect or to act on injuriously <plants attacked by aphids>

  5. 4 :  to set to work on <attack a problem>

  6. 5 :  to threaten (a piece in chess) with immediate capture

  7. intransitive verb
  8. :  to make an attack

at·tack·er noun

Examples of attack

  1. He attacked the guard with a knife.

  2. Troops attacked the fortress at dawn.

  3. The troops attacked at dawn.

  4. People are attacking the mayor for breaking campaign promises.

  5. The professor has been widely attacked for her position on the issue.

  6. Did you see the way the kids attacked that pizza?

Origin of attack

Middle French attaquer, from Old Italian *estaccare to attach, from stacca stake, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English staca

First Known Use: 1562

Synonym Discussion of attack

attack, assail, assault, bombard, storm mean to make an onslaught upon. attack implies taking the initiative in a struggle <plan to attack the town at dawn>. assail implies attempting to break down resistance by repeated blows or shots <assailed the enemy with artillery fire>. assault suggests a direct attempt to overpower by suddenness and violence of onslaught <commandos assaulted the building from all sides>. bombard applies to attacking with bombs or shells <bombarded the city nightly>. storm implies attempting to break into a defended position <preparing to storm the fortress>.

Rhymes with attack

aback, ack-ack, alack, amtrac, Anzac, arrack, backpack, backtrack, Balzac, bareback, blackjack, blowback, bootblack, bootjack, brushback, bushwhack, buyback, callback, calpac, carjack, champac, cheapjack, coatrack, come back, comeback, cookshack, crackback, crookback, cut back, cutback, Dayak, dieback, Dirac, draw back, drawback, fall back, fallback, fastback, fast-track, fatback, feedback, finback, fireback, flapjack, flashback, fullback, gimcrack, giveback, graywacke, greenback, gripsack, guaiac, halfback, half-track, hardback, hardhack, hardtack, hatchback, hayrack, haystack, hijack, hogback, hold back, holdback, hopsack, horseback, humpback, hunchback, Iraq, jam-pack, jet-black, Kanak, Karnak, kayak, Kazak, kickback, knapsack, knickknack, kulak, kyack, laid-back, lampblack, leaseback, linac, macaque, man jack, manpack, Micmac, mossback, muntjac, Muzak, notchback, offtrack, one-track, outback, packsack, payback, pitch-black, play back, playback, plow back, plowback, Prozac, pullback, quillback, racetrack, ransack, rickrack, roll back, rollback, roorback, rucksack, runback, sad sack, scatback, serac, set back, setback, shellac, shellback, shoeblack, shoepac, sidetrack, six-pack, skewback, skipjack, skyjack, slapjack, slotback, Slovak, smokejack, smokestack, snap back, snapback, snowpack, softback, sumac, swayback, sweepback, swept-back, switchback, tailback, tarmac, thornback, throw back, throwback, thumbtack, ticktack, tieback, tie tack, tombac, touchback, tow sack, trictrac, tripack, unpack, wetback, whaleback, wingback, wisecrack, wolf pack, woolpack, woolsack, yashmak, zwieback



noun at·tack

Simple Definition of attack

  • : a violent, harmful, or destructive act against someone or something

  • : harmful or destructive action against something by a disease, insect, chemical, etc.

  • : an attempt by a military force to defeat an enemy : a military offensive

Full Definition of attack

  1. 1 :  the act of attacking with physical force or unfriendly words :  assault

  2. 2 :  a belligerent or antagonistic action

  3. 3 a :  a fit of sickness; especially :  an active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease b :  a period of being strongly affected by something (as a desire or mood)

  4. 4 a :  an offensive or scoring action <won the game with an 8-hit attack> b :  offensive players or the positions taken up by them

  5. 5 :  the setting to work on some undertaking <made a new attack on the problem>

  6. 6 :  the beginning of destructive action (as by a chemical agent)

  7. 7 :  the act or manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase

Examples of attack

  1. The immune system is the body's defense against attack by germs.

  2. The spray protects plants from attacks by many common pests.

  3. The surprise attack came at dawn.

  4. There is a threat of nuclear attack.

  5. There have been many attacks against the professor for her position on the issue.

  6. The newspaper editorial is an attack on policy-makers.


First Known Use of attack




adjective at·tack

Simple Definition of attack

  • : designed for or used in a military attack

Full Definition of attack

  1. :  designed, planned, or used for carrying out a military attack <an attack helicopter>

Examples of attack

  1. The bombers were in attack formation.


First Known Use of attack


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February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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