attack dog

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for attack dog

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.

See More

First Known Use of attack dog

1939, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about attack dog

Time Traveler for attack dog

Time Traveler

The first known use of attack dog was in 1939

See more words from the same year

Statistics for attack dog

Last Updated

19 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Attack dog.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/attack%20dog. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for attack dog

attack dog

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on attack dog

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for attack dog

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with attack dog

Comments on attack dog

What made you want to look up attack dog? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!