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Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near attack

Cite this Entry

“Attack.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on attack

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