Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To set upon with violent force.
  • transitive v. To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner.
  • transitive v. To start work on with purpose and vigor: attack a problem.
  • transitive v. To begin to affect harmfully: a disease that attacks the central nervous system.
  • intransitive 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • 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. Collectively, the bowlers of a cricket side.
  • n. Any contact with the ball other than a serve or block which sends the ball across the plane of the net.
  • n. 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. 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. To apply violent force to someone or something.
  • v. To aggressively challenge a person, idea, etc., with words (particularly in newspaper headlines, because it typesets into less space than "criticize" or similar).
  • v. To deal with something undesirable in a direct way.
  • v. To aim balls at the batsman’s wicket.
  • v. To set a field, or bowl in a manner designed to get wickets.
  • v. To bat aggressively, so as to score runs quickly.
  • v. To move forward in an attempt to actively score point, as opposed to trying not to concede.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and arms; to assault.
  • transitive 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.
  • transitive v. To set to work upon, as upon a task or problem, or some object of labor or investigation.
  • transitive v. To begin to affect; to begin to act upon, injuriously or destructively; to begin to decompose or waste.
  • intransitive 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.

from The 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • 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

Etymologies

French attaquer, from Old French, from Old Italian *estaccare, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Used to describe an aggressive opening in chess.

    February 21, 2007