noun at·tri·tion \ə-ˈtri-shən, a-\

: a reduction in the number of employees or participants that occurs when people leave because they resign, retire, etc., and are not replaced

: the act or process of weakening and gradually defeating an enemy through constant attacks and continued pressure over a long period of time

Full Definition of ATTRITION

[Middle English attricioun, from Medieval Latin attrition-, attritio, from Latin] :  sorrow for one's sins that arises from a motive other than that of the love of God
:  the act of rubbing together :  friction; also :  the act of wearing or grinding down by friction
:  the act of weakening or exhausting by constant harassment, abuse, or attack <a war of attrition>
:  a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death <a company with a high rate of attrition>
at·tri·tion·al \-ˈtri-sh(ə-)nəl\ adjective

Examples of ATTRITION

  1. Attrition is high among social workers because of the difficult work and poor pay.
  2. <took the machinery out of operation since attrition had led to the main mechanism's breaking>
  3. His first response was a plan to streamline management, reducing the company's white-collar ranks through attrition. An old-school CEO who had been with Stanley most of his adult life, Davis considered layoffs a last resort. But by the time he stepped down as CEO in 1987, hundreds of factory workers had lost their jobs on his orders. —James Lardner, New York Review of Books, 14 June 2007


Latin attrition-, attritio, from atterere to rub against, from ad- + terere to rub — more at throw
First Known Use: 14th century

Related to ATTRITION

Other Christian Religious Terms

Pentateuch, blasphemy, curate, doxology, eremite, iconoclasm, liturgy, orison, pneuma, reliquary
Medical Dictionary


noun at·tri·tion \ə-ˈtrish-ən\

Medical Definition of ATTRITION

:  the act of rubbing together; also :  the act of wearing or grinding down by friction <attrition of teeth>
at·tri·tion·al \-ˈtrish-nəl, -ˈtrish-ən-əl\ adjective


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