Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of attack
Meaning of attack by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From French attaque, derived from the verb attaquer, from Italian attaccare ( “to join, attach” ) used in attaccare battaglia, "to join battle". Cognate with Italian attacca and German Attacke .


    • ( UK, US, Australia ) IPA: /əˈtæk/, X-SAMPA: /@"t{k/
    • Rhymes: -æk


    attack ( plural: attacks )

    1. An attempt to cause damage or injury to, or to somehow detract from the worth or credibility of, a person, position, idea, object, or thing, by physical, verbal, emotional, or other assault .
      They claimed the censorship of the article was an attack of free speech .
    2. A time in which one attacks. The offence of a battle .
      The army timed their attack to coincide with the local celebrations .
    3. ( cricket ) Collectively, the bowlers of a cricket side .
    4. ( volleyball ) Any contact with the ball other than a serve or block which sends the ball across the plane of the net .
    5. ( lacrosse ) The three attackmen on the field or all the attackmen of a team .
    6. The sudden onset of a disease .
      I´ve had an attack of the flu .
    7. An active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease .
    8. ( audio ) The amount of time it takes for the volume of an audio signal to go from zero to maximum level ( e.g. an audio waveform representing a snare drum hit would feature a very fast attack, whereas that of a wave washing to shore would feature a slow attack ) .


    Derived terms

    Related terms

    • attachment


    attack ( third-person singular simple present attacks present participle attacking, simple past and past participle attacked )

    1. ( transitive ) To apply violent force to someone or something .
      This species of snake will only attack humans if it feels threatened .
    2. ( transitive ) To aggressively challenge a person, idea, etc., with words ( particularly in newspaper headlines, because it typesets into less space than "criticize" or similar ) .
      She published an article attacking the recent pay cuts .
    3. ( transitive ) To deal with something undesirable in a direct way .
      We´ll have dinner before we attack the biology homework .
    4. ( transitive, cricket ) To aim balls at the batsman’s wicket .
    5. ( intransitive, cricket ) To set a field, or bowl in a manner designed to get wickets .
    6. ( intransitive, cricket ) To bat aggressively, so as to score runs quickly .
    7. ( soccer ) To move forward in an attempt to actively score point, as opposed to trying not to concede.


    • See also Wikisaurus:attack

    External links

    • attack in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • attack in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
    • attack at OneLook Dictionary Search

Explanation of attack by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. begin to injure

    2. The cancer cells are attacking his liver
      Rust is attacking the metal
    3. set to work upon

    4. I attacked the problem as soon as I got out of bed
    5. attack in speech or writing

    6. The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker
    7. take the initiative and go on the offensive

    8. The Serbs attacked the village at night
      The visiting team started to attack
    9. launch an attack or assault on

    10. Hitler attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 and started World War II
    11. attack someone physically or emotionally

    1. a decisive manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase

    2. an offensive move in a sport or game

    3. they won the game with a 10-hit attack in the 9th inning
    4. the act of attacking

    5. attacks on women increased last year
    6. ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation

    7. an attack on inflation
      his plan of attack was misguided
    8. an offensive against an enemy ( using weapons )

    9. the attack began at dawn
    10. strong criticism

    11. he published an unexpected attack on my work
    12. intense adverse criticism

    13. the government has come under attack
    14. the onset of a corrosive or destructive process ( as by a chemical agent )

    15. the film was sensitive to attack by acids
      open to attack by the elements
    16. a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition

    17. an attack of diarrhea

    Definition of attack by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Appel n. [F., prop., a call. See Appeal, n.] ( Fencing ) A tap or stamp of the foot as a warning of intent to attack; -- called also attack.

    2. Attack 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. 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.

    3. Attack, v. i. To make an onset or attack.

    4. Attack, 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.