[ uh-tak ]
/ əˈtæk /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to make an attack; begin hostilities.


Nearby words

  1. attachment of earnings,
  2. attachment parenting,
  3. attachment theory,
  4. attaché,
  5. attaché case,
  6. attack ad,
  7. attack dog,
  8. attack rate,
  9. attacker,
  10. attagirl

Origin of attack

1590–1600; earlier atta(c)que < Middle French atta(c)quer < Italian attaccare to attack, attach

1, 4. defend. 9. defense.

Related forms

Synonym study

1. Attack, assail, assault, molest all mean to set upon someone forcibly, with hostile or violent intent. Attack is the most general word and applies to a beginning of hostilities, especially those definitely planned: to attack from ambush. Assail implies vehement, sudden, and sometimes repeated attack: to assail with weapons or with gossip. Assault almost always implies bodily violence: to assault with intent to kill. To molest is to harass, to threaten, or to assault: He was safe, and where no one could molest him. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for postattack


/ (əˈtæk) /



Derived Formsattackable, adjectiveattacker, nounattacking, adjective

Word Origin for attack

C16: from French attaquer, from Old Italian attaccare to attack, attach, from estaccare to attach, from stacca stake 1; compare attach

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for postattack
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for postattack


[ ə-tăk ]


An episode or onset of a disease, often sudden in nature.
Related formsat•tack v.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.