attack dog


Definition of attack dog

1 : a dog trained to attack on command or on sight
2 : a person noted for harsh, personal, and usually public verbal attacks against others a political attack dog usually hyphenated when used before another nounattack-dog tactics

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Synonyms for attack dog


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Examples of attack dog in a Sentence

The charges against the candidate were made by one of the governor's attack dogs. his reputation as a political attack dog earned him the vice presidential spot on the ticket
Recent Examples on the Web Neither dog was injured, and the owner of the attacking dog was warned to keep it on a leash. cleveland, "Bar employees warned about serving alcohol in violation of state mandate: Highland Heights Police Blotter," 16 Apr. 2020 Warren may have more staying power but apart from Trump, a name-calling bully in debates, few candidates thrive as a snarling attack dog. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Las Vegas debate exposed Mike Bloomberg’s inexperience and Elizabeth Warren’s hunger," 20 Feb. 2020 For some candidates, surrogates help keep their hands clean of controversy by acting as an attack dog. Time, "Jonathan Van Ness, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Among Surrogates Standing in for 2020 Hopefuls During Impeachment Trial," 21 Jan. 2020 California Democrat Eric Swalwell emerged as an attack dog for the majority during numerous media interviews. Fortune, "How to Watch the Public Impeachment Hearings Live Online Without Cable," 13 Nov. 2019 The 63-year-old male owner of the attacking dog was cited for dogs at large. cleveland, "Police, firefighters make heroic rescue of man trapped in ravine: Richmond Heights Police Blotter," 10 Oct. 2019 But Justin Trudeau, who has unleashed his party’s attack dogs on many political opponents for views he claims are racist and homophobic, wasn’t about to dilute such a potent political weapon. John Fund, National Review, "Justin Trudeau, Identity-Politics Hypocrite," 22 Sep. 2019 These would-be slaughterers end up being slaughtered by Dalton and his stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who employ an attack dog, a flame thrower, and a myriad of household objects that get slammed into faces. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Quentin Tarantino’s Ultimate Statement on Movie Violence," 2 Aug. 2019 Another increasingly prominent legal attack dog is Los Angeles lawyer Charles Harder, who famously sued the gossip website Gawker into extinction on behalf of the nominal plaintiff, Hulk Hogan. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Much Does It Cost to Keep Your Name Out of the News?," 18 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'attack dog.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of attack dog

1939, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for attack dog

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The first known use of attack dog was in 1939

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Statistics for attack dog

Last Updated

19 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Attack dog.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for attack dog

attack dog


English Language Learners Definition of attack dog

: a dog that has been trained to attack people
: a person who is known for making very harsh and personal criticisms of other people

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with attack dog

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