Thesaurus

attack

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of attack

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 the act or action of setting upon with force or violence
  • The USS Constitution was nicknamed "Old Ironsides" after its oaken hull successfully withstood a British attack

Synonyms for attack

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2 a sudden experiencing of a physical or mental disorder
  • malaria is characterized by periodic attacks of chills and fever

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attack

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of attack (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to take sudden, violent action against
  • our dog unexpectedly attacked the mailman, sinking his teeth into the startled man's leg

Synonyms for attack

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2 to criticize harshly and usually publicly
  • the mayor and all his aides were attacked mercilessly in the press when the scandal erupted

Synonyms for attack

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Phrases Synonymous with attack

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3 to start work on energetically
  • Courtney attacked the huge mess in her room with determination and enthusiasm

Synonyms for attack

Words Related to attack

Phrases Synonymous with attack

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Frequently Asked Questions About attack

How does the verb attack contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of attack are assail, assault, bombard, and storm. While all these words mean "to make an onslaught upon," attack implies taking the initiative in a struggle.

plan to attack the town at dawn

When could assail be used to replace attack?

The words assail and attack are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, assail implies attempting to break down resistance by repeated blows or shots.

assailed the enemy with artillery fire

When might assault be a better fit than attack?

Although the words assault and attack have much in common, assault suggests a direct attempt to overpower by suddenness and violence of onslaught.

commandos assaulted the building from all sides

When would bombard be a good substitute for attack?

The synonyms bombard and attack are sometimes interchangeable, but bombard applies to attacking with bombs or shells.

bombarded the city nightly

When can storm be used instead of attack?

While the synonyms storm and attack are close in meaning, storm implies attempting to break into a defended position.

preparing to storm the fortress

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Time Traveler for attack

Time Traveler

The first known use of attack was circa 1576

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Cite this Entry

“Attack.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/attack. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on attack

Dictionary: Definition of attack

Medical Dictionary: Definition of attack

Nglish: Translation of attack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of attack for Arabic Speakers

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