Definitions for: Attack


[n] a decisive manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase
[n] an offensive move in a sport or game; "they won the game with a 10-hit attack in the 9th inning"
[n] the act of attacking; "attacks on women increased last year"; "they made an attempt on his life"
[n] ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation; "his approach to every problem is to draw up a list of pros and cons"; "an attack on inflation"; "his plan of attack was misguided"
[n] an offensive against and enemy (using weapons); "the attack began at dawn"
[n] strong criticism; "he published an unexpected attack on my work"
[n] intense adverse criticism; "Clinton directed his fire at the Republican Party"; "the government has come under attack"; "don't give me any flak"
[n] the onset of a corrosive or destructive process (as by a chemical agent); "the film was sensitive to attack by acids"; "open to attack by the elements"
[n] a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition; "an attack of diarrhea"
[v] begin to injure; "The cancer cells are attacking his liver"; "Rust is attacking the metal"
[v] set to work upon; turn one's energies vigorously to a task; "I attacked the problem as soon as I got out of bed"
[v] attack verbally, in speech or writing; "The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker"
[v] take the initiative and go on the offensive; "The Serbs attacked the village at night"; "The visiting team started to attack"
[v] launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities with, as in warfare; "Hitler attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 and started World War II"; "Serbian forces assailed Bosnian towns all week"
[v] attack someone physically or emotionally; "The mugger assaulted the woman"; "Nightmares assailed him regularly"



Webster (1913) Definition: At*tack", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Attacked; p. pr. & vb.
n. Attacking.] [F. attaquer, orig. another form of attacher
to attack: cf. It. attacare to fasten, attack. See Attach,
Tack a small nail.]
1. To fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and
arms; to assault. ``Attack their lines.'' --Dryden.

2. 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; as, to
attack a man, or his opinions, in a pamphlet.

3. To set to work upon, as upon a task or problem, or some
object of labor or investigation.

4. To begin to affect; to begin to act upon, injuriously or
destructively; to begin to decompose or waste.

On the fourth of March he was attacked by fever.
--Macaulay.

Hydrofluoric acid . . . attacks the glass. --B.
Stewart.

Syn: To Attack, Assail, Assault, Invade.

Usage: These words all denote a violent onset; attack being
the generic term, and the others specific forms of
attack. To attack is to commence the onset; to assail
is to make a sudden and violent attack, or to make
repeated attacks; to assault (literally, to leap upon)
is to attack physically by a had-to-hand approach or
by unlawful and insulting violence; to invade is to
enter by force on what belongs to another. Thus, a
person may attack by offering violence of any kind; he
may assail by means of missile weapons; he may assault
by direct personal violence; a king may invade by
marching an army into a country. Figuratively, we may
say, men attack with argument or satire; they assail
with abuse or reproaches; they may be assaulted by
severe temptations; the rights of the people may be
invaded by the encroachments of the crown.


At*tack", v. i.
To make an onset or attack.


At*tack", n. [Cf. F. attaque.]
1. The act of attacking, or falling on with force or
violence; an onset; an assault; -- opposed to defense.

2. An assault upon one's feelings or reputation with
unfriendly or bitter words.

3. A setting to work upon some task, etc.

4. An access of disease; a fit of sickness.

5. The beginning of corrosive, decomposing, or destructive
action, by a chemical agent.

Synonyms: aggress, approach, assail, assault, assault, attempt, blast, fire, flack, flak, lash out, onrush, onset, onslaught, plan of attack, round, set on, snipe, tone-beginning

Antonyms: defend

See Also: abuse, act, affect, affliction, anxiety attack, apoplexy, aspersion, assault, avenue, bait, banzai attack, banzai charge, barrage, begin, beginning, beleaguer, beset, besiege, blackguard, blister, blitz, blitz, bomb, bombard, bombardment, bombing, bulldog, bust, calumny, cannonade, cerebrovascular accident, charge, check, circumvent, clapperclaw, claw, commence, commencement, conceptualisation, conceptualization, counterattack, counterattack, countermove, counterstrike, coup de main, crime, criticise, criticism, criticism, criticize, CVA, defamation, degeneration, denigration, desecrate, devolution, dishonor, dishonour, diversion, diversionary attack, fight, fire, firing, fit, fork, formulation, gas, get, ground attack, heart attack, hem in, hit, hysterics, ictus, incursion, invade, jump, law-breaking, military operation, molest, move, occlusion, occupy, operation, outrage, paroxysm, pelt, penetration, pepper, pick apart, pin, play, profane, raid, rape, raptus, ravish, reassail, rip, rubbish, rush, savage, seizure, set, set about, set out, set upon, shout, sic, slander, spot, start, start, start out, storm, strike, strike, stroke, struggle, submarine, surprise, surprise attack, surround, tackle, torpedo, touch, turn, unfavorable judgment, unfavorable judgment, violate, vitriol, whang, whip

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