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 noun attack-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 Equally, while the police should be apolitical, the Tanzania police force was used as the ruling party’s attack dog to intimidate, arrest, and harass the opposition. David E Kiwuwa, Quartz Africa, "Tanzania’s democracy has taken a step backward after a flawed election," 4 Nov. 2020 Biden has answered with events by former president Barack Obama, who has taken on Biden’s 2012 reelection role, as an attack dog, mocking Trump for having a smaller inauguration crowd, among other things. Author: Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "The map is wide, Democrats tense and Republicans hopeful in the last days of campaign 2020," 1 Nov. 2020 During his four years as Bevin's chief of staff in Kentucky, Brickman was known as a fierce defender of his boss and attack dog against his critics. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "Former Bevin chief of staff fired by Texas AG after his whistleblower bribery allegation," 23 Oct. 2020 Democratic strategists are downplaying Harris's role as an attack dog, insisting there's no need. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Kamala Harris poses threat in traditional attacker role played by VP candidates," 13 Aug. 2020 Leach hired Dolcefino in 2017, enlisting his services as an attack dog that has sued Tech to obtain public documents related to Leach’s termination there in December 2009. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Coach Mike Leach prepared to fight Texas Tech 'until he dies'," 15 Sep. 2020 The running mate, in contrast, plays partisan attack dog, depicting the rival candidate as the moral equivalent of Vlad the Impaler. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Trump Is Terrorizing America," 21 June 2020 In 2012, while Biden played attack dog against Mitt Romney, the GOP made that election a referendum on President Barack Obama personally and not particularly his No. 2. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Joe Biden campaign's latest target: Mike Pence," 2 July 2020 The mayor also tried out an attack dog role on Meet the Press Sunday, criticizing President Trump in a manner many analysts think will be necessary in a Biden running mate. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms VP prospects improve amid Floyd unrest," 1 June 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Attack dog.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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