[ uh-trahyt ]
/ 蓹藞tra瑟t /
Save This Word!

Also at路trit路ed. worn by rubbing or attrition.
verb (used with object), at路trit路ed, at路trit路ing.
to make smaller by attrition.
Hold your head up high as you embark on this quiz that explores some of the synonyms and meanings of 鈥減ride.鈥
Question 1 of 7
What does "dignity" mean?

Origin of attrite

1615鈥25; <Latin attr墨tus rubbed against, rubbed away, worn away (past participle of atterere), equivalent to at-at- + tr墨- (variant stem of terere to rub) + -tus past participle suffix


at路trite路ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022


What does聽attrite mean?

Attrite means to make smaller, wear down, or be lost due to attrition鈥攁 weakening or reduction. It can also be an adjective meaning 鈥渨orn down鈥 or 鈥渉aving been gradually reduced.鈥

Attrite is far less common than its noun form, attrition, which can refer to a decrease in number; a gradual weakening; a wearing down by friction; or a reduction, as in a work force or similar group when people are lost for various reasons. Attrite is often used to refer to loss of employees or members of an organization.

Example: We predict that 12 employees will attrite in the next four months.

Where did聽attrite come from?

Attrite comes from the Latin word attr墨tus, meaning 鈥渞ubbed against鈥 or 鈥渨orn away鈥 and entered English in the 1600s. Its noun form, attrition, is actually older, having entered English around the 1400s.

To attrite can generally mean to 鈥渨ear down,鈥 as in The snacks in the pantry are attriting my willpower. More commonly, it is used as an administrative term in the context of an attrition rate鈥攖he rate of how many people leave a group, especially employees, students, or customers. In this context, to attrite typically means 鈥渢o leave the group by resigning or dropping out鈥 (not by getting fired or expelled). Another specialized usage comes from linguistics and the concept of language attrition鈥攚hich usually refers to the loss of a person鈥檚 native language. When your language attrites, you can no longer speak it confidently or fluently.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms of attrite?

What are some synonyms for attrite?

What are some words that share a root or word element with attrite?

What are some words that often get used in discussing attrite?

How is聽attrite used in real life?

This relatively rare word is usually only found in fairly specialized circles, mainly linguistics, economics, business, education, and the military.



Try using聽attrite!

Is attrite used correctly in the following sentence?

鈥淥ur data shows that customers began to attrite after we raised prices.鈥