American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To set upon with violent force.
- v. To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner.
- v. To start work on with purpose and vigor: attack a problem.
- v. To begin to affect harmfully: a disease that attacks the central nervous system.
- v. To make an attack; launch an assault: The enemy attacked during the night.
- n. The act or an instance of attacking; an assault.
- n. An expression of strong criticism; hostile comment: vicious attacks in all the newspapers.
- n. Sports An offensive action in a sport or game.
- n. Sports The players executing such an action.
- n. The initial movement in a task or undertaking: made an optimistic attack on the pile of paperwork.
- n. A method or procedure: Our attack on this project will have two phases.
- n. An episode or onset of a disease, especially an occurrence of a chronic disease: an asthma attack.
- n. The experience or beginning of a feeling, need, or desire: an attack of hunger; an attack of melancholy.
- n. Music The beginning or manner of beginning a piece, passage, or tone.
- n. Decisiveness and clarity in artistic expression: a careful performance, but one lacking the rigorous attack the work demands.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To assault; fall upon with force; assail, as with force and arms; begin hostilities against.
- To endeavor to injure, overthrow, or bring into discredit by any act or proposal, or by unfriendly words or writing, whether by satire, calumny, criticism, or argument: as, to attack a religious belief or a legislative measure; to attack a man or his opinions in a newspaper.
- To make an onset or attempt upon, in a general sense; begin action upon or in regard to; set about or upon: as, to attack a piece of work or a problem, or (humorously) the dinner.
- To begin to affect; come or fall upon; seize: said of diseases and other destructive agencies: as, yesterday he was attacked by fever; caries attacked the bones; locusts attacked the crops. Specifically In chem., to cause to decompose or dissolve.
- Synonyms Set upon, Fall upon, etc. (see assail), assault, beset, besiege, beleaguer, charge upon, engage, challenge, combat. To impugn, criticize, censure.
- To make an attack or onset: as, the enemy attacked with great boldness.
- n. A falling on with force or violence, or with calumny, satire, or criticism; an onset; an assault.
- n. Battle generally; fight.
- n. An onset of any kind; the initial movement in any active proceeding or contest, as a game of chess, cricket, etc.; in music, specifically, the act (with reference to the manner) of beginning a piece, passage, or phrase, especially by an orchestra.
- n. The aggressive part of the art of fencing: opposed to defense.
- n. A seizure by a disease; the onset of a disease.
- n. An attempt to cause damage or injury to, or to somehow detract from the worth or credibility of, a person, position, idea, object, or thing, by physical, verbal, emotional, or other assault.
- n. A time in which one attacks. The offence of a battle.
- n. cricket Collectively, the bowlers of a cricket side.
- n. volleyball Any contact with the ball other than a serve or block which sends the ball across the plane of the net.
- n. lacrosse The three attackmen on the field or all the attackmen of a team.
- n. The sudden onset of a disease.
- n. An active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease.
- n. audio The amount of time it takes for the volume of an audio signal to go from zero to maximum level (e.g. an audio waveform representing a snare drum hit would feature a very fast attack, whereas that of a wave washing to shore would feature a slow attack).
- v. transitive To apply violent force to someone or something.
- v. transitive To aggressively challenge a person, idea, etc., with words (particularly in newspaper headlines, because it typesets into less space than "criticize" or similar).
- v. transitive To deal with something undesirable in a direct way.
- v. transitive, cricket To aim balls at the batsman’s wicket.
- v. intransitive, cricket To set a field, or bowl in a manner designed to get wickets.
- v. intransitive, cricket To bat aggressively, so as to score runs quickly.
- v. soccer To move forward in an attempt to actively score point, as opposed to trying not to concede.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and arms; to assault.
- v. To assail with unfriendly speech or writing; to begin a controversy with; to attempt to overthrow or bring into disrepute, by criticism or satire; to censure.
- v. To set to work upon, as upon a task or problem, or some object of labor or investigation.
- v. To begin to affect; to begin to act upon, injuriously or destructively; to begin to decompose or waste.
- v. To make an onset or attack.
- n. The act of attacking, or falling on with force or violence; an onset; an assault; -- opposed to defense.
- n. An assault upon one's feelings or reputation with unfriendly or bitter words.
- n. A setting to work upon some task, etc.
- n. An access of disease; a fit of sickness.
- n. The beginning of corrosive, decomposing, or destructive action, by a chemical agent.
- n. a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition
- v. attack someone physically or emotionally
- n. intense adverse criticism
- n. a decisive manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase
- v. begin to injure
- v. set to work upon; turn one's energies vigorously to a task
- n. an offensive move in a sport or game
- n. ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation
- n. the onset of a corrosive or destructive process (as by a chemical agent)
- v. attack in speech or writing
- n. strong criticism
- v. take the initiative and go on the offensive
- v. launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with
- n. (military) an offensive against an enemy (using weapons)
- n. the act of attacking
- From French attaque, derived from the verb attaquer, from Italian attaccare ("to join, attach") used in attaccare battaglia, "to join battle". Cognate with Italian attacca and German Attacke. (Wiktionary)
- French attaquer, from Old French, from Old Italian *estaccare, of Germanic origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But to cover a real attack on an angle, cavalry sometimes makes a _false attack_ on the front of a square.”
“What's striking is that while everybody recognizes that Estrich's hysterical in both meanings of the term attack on Michael Kinsley was pure menopausal hot flash, the Axiom of Equality -- the assumption that any inequality disfavoring non-white males is the product of discrimination and must be alleviated -- is so engrained in public discourse that you just know Estrich is going to win in the end.”
“The Portuguese driver will have a very busy March, with about 10 days of testing for the season, getting ready for the title attack on the European Formula Renault 2.0, title which belongs to his team Motopark Academy.”
“This attack is the latest in a series of systematic attacks against Nigerians of the Niger Delta which has been on going for the past 20 years from Babaginda, Abacha, Obasanjo and now this pathetic individual who calls himself President when in fact he was never even elected - unless you call rigging an election a legal process.”
“But the attack is a campaign tactic that has been used many times.”
“This attack is all the more insidious because "Catholics" are at the forefront of using their positions of power to try to destroy the Church.”
“So the attack is then set up thus: pick an upper class trait for maximum rhetorical effect and then describe those who would look down on you thusly.”
“In Obama's administration, the attack is against one's legitimacy.”
“The suspected gunman in the attack is a 39-year-old Army psychiatrist, Maj.”
“The result of the attack is the fracturing of the GIUK gap, which allows the Soviet Northern Fleet to place all their SSBNs (ballistic submarines) in friendly-controlled waters with a few SSNs (fast-attack submarines) to stand guard (a bastion defense).”
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