- 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 attack on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for attacking
There is a particular focus in the magazine on attacking the United States, which al Qaeda calls a top target.U.S. Spies See Al Qaeda Fingerprints on Paris Massacre
Shane Harris, Nancy A. Youssef
January 8, 2015
It drains your body of nutrients and vitamins, attacking the central nervous system and leaving you in a dehydrated, hazy state.History's Craziest Hangover Cures
December 30, 2014
“When you attack public sector unions now, you are attacking the heart of the U.S. labor movement,” says Dine.The GOP and Police Unions: A Love Story
December 12, 2014
This one, attacking Georgia Democrat John Barrow, is probably touching on a real issue.The Strangest, Cheesiest, Most Brazenly False Political Ads of 2014
Jack Holmes, The Daily Beast Video
November 3, 2014
At times, it was unclear whether Kasich was attacking such conservatives from the left or the Christian right.John Kasich: The GOP’s Hobbled 2016 Dark Horse
W. James Antle III
November 3, 2014
The right of their position was nearest the attacking force.The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage
Charles G. D. Roberts
And if you ask as friends, you have done us bitter wrong, by attacking us unprovoked.Stories from Thucydides
H. L. Havell
The sensibilities of the class you are attacking are soon blunted.The Secret Agent
But on the attacking side the fight has brought terrible losses to Finn's men.Beowulf
Menendez lost no time in attacking the Huguenot colonists of Carolina.The Nation in a Nutshell
George Makepeace Towle
- 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 attacking
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.