- to set upon in a forceful, violent, hostile, or aggressive way, with or without a weapon; begin fighting with: He attacked him with his bare hands.
- to begin hostilities against; start an offensive against: to attack the enemy.
- to blame or abuse violently or bitterly.
- to direct unfavorable criticism against; criticize severely; argue with strongly: He attacked his opponent's statement.
- to try to destroy, especially with verbal abuse: to attack the mayor's reputation.
- to set about (a task) or go to work on (a thing) vigorously: to attack housecleaning; to attack the hamburger hungrily.
- (of disease, destructive agencies, etc.) to begin to affect.
- to make an attack; begin hostilities.
- the act of attacking; onslaught; assault.
- a military offensive against an enemy or enemy position.
- Pathology. seizure by disease or illness: an attack of indigestion.
- the beginning or initiating of any action; onset.
- an aggressive move in a performance or contest.
- the approach or manner of approach in beginning a musical phrase.
Origin of attack
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsraid, intrusion, violation, onslaught, offensive, skirmish, charge, barrage, rape, outbreak, strike, invasion, incursion, aggression, intervention, criticism, abuse, failure, seizure, hit
Examples from the Web for attack
As soon as this attack [happened], Paris citizens came together to show were are not afraid, we are Charlie Hebdo.France Kills Charlie Hebdo Murderers
January 9, 2015
It was also an attack on our freedom of expression and way of life.Politicians Only Love Journalists When They're Dead
January 8, 2015
Opponents of Muslims and immigrants across the continent are claiming vindication in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack.Europe’s Islam Haters Say We Told You So
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 8, 2015
An attack on journalists anywhere is an attack on civil society everywhere.
That is why The Daily Beast stands with Charlie Hebdo and published their controversial covers in the wake of the attack.
The strong man must at all times be alert to the attack of insidious disease.
He saw now the meaning of the manner in which Allister and Clune made their attack.Way of the Lawless
These attack you—but run—at least the tiger, not the elephant, when you go out after him.
The others leave you alone except you attack them; then they show fight.
There is no disease bold enough to dare to attack the person of a doctor.The Imaginary Invalid
- to launch a physical assault (against) with or without weapons; begin hostilities (with)
- (intr) to take the initiative in a game, sport, etcafter a few minutes, the team began to attack
- (tr) to direct hostile words or writings at; criticize or abuse vehemently
- (tr) to turn one's mind or energies vigorously to (a job, problem, etc)
- (tr) to begin to injure or affect adversely; corrode, corrupt, or infectrust attacked the metal
- (tr) to attempt to rape
- the act or an instance of attacking
- strong criticism or abusean unjustified attack on someone's reputation
- an offensive move in a game, sport, etc
- commencement of a task, etc
- any sudden and usually severe manifestation of a disease or disordera heart attack; an attack of indigestion
- the attack ball games the players in a team whose main role is to attack the opponents' goal or territory
- music decisiveness in beginning a passage, movement, or piece
- music the speed with which a note reaches its maximum volume
- an attempted rape
Word Origin and History for attack
c.1600, from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) "join (battle)," thus the word is a doublet of attach, which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Related: Attacked; attacking.
1660s, from attack (v.). Cf. Middle English attach "a seizure or attack" (of fever), late 14c.
- An episode or onset of a disease, often sudden in nature.