Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To set upon with violent force.
  • intransitive verb To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner.
  • intransitive verb To start work on with purpose and vigor.
  • intransitive verb To act on in a detrimental way; cause harm to.
  • intransitive verb To play (the ball) aggressively, especially by moving toward it rather than by waiting for it to arrive.
  • intransitive verb To move toward (the goal) on an offensive play, as in lacrosse.
  • intransitive verb In volleyball, to hit (the ball) forcefully over the net.
  • intransitive verb To make a sudden, intense effort to pass (a competitor in a race).
  • intransitive verb To make an attack; launch an assault.
  • intransitive verb To make a play on offense; attempt to score.
  • intransitive verb To make a sudden, intense effort to pull ahead in a race.
  • noun The act or an instance of attacking; an assault.
  • noun An expression of strong criticism; hostile comment.
  • noun Offensive play, especially in lacrosse.
  • noun An offensive play.
  • noun The players executing such a play.
  • noun Scoring ability or potential.
  • noun A forceful shot over the net in volleyball.
  • noun A sudden, intense effort to pull ahead in a race.
  • noun The initial movement in a task or undertaking.
  • noun A method or procedure.
  • noun An episode or onset of a disease, especially an occurrence of a chronic disease.
  • noun The experience or beginning of a feeling, need, or desire.
  • noun Music The beginning or manner of beginning a piece, passage, or tone.
  • noun Decisiveness and clarity in artistic expression.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun A falling on with force or violence, or with calumny, satire, or criticism; an onset; an assault.
  • noun Battle generally; fight.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The aggressive part of the art of fencing: opposed to defense.
  • noun A seizure by a disease; the onset of a disease.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To make an onset or attack.
  • noun The act of attacking, or falling on with force or violence; an onset; an assault; -- opposed to defense.
  • noun An assault upon one's feelings or reputation with unfriendly or bitter words.
  • noun A setting to work upon some task, etc.
  • noun An access of disease; a fit of sickness.
  • noun The beginning of corrosive, decomposing, or destructive action, by a chemical agent.
  • transitive verb To fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and arms; to assault.
  • transitive verb 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 verb To set to work upon, as upon a task or problem, or some object of labor or investigation.

Etymologies

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

[French attaquer, from Old French, from Old Italian *estaccare, of Germanic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

Comments

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  • Used to describe an aggressive opening in chess.

    February 21, 2007