Webster 1913 Edition
imp. & p. p.
p. pr. & vb. n.
To fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and arms; to assault.“Attack their lines.”
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;
attacka man, or his opinions, in a pamphlet
To set to work upon, as upon a task or problem, or some object of labor or investigation.
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
Hydrofluoric acid . . .
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.
To make an onset or attack.
The act of attacking, or falling on with force or violence; an onset; an assault; – opposed to
An assault upon one’s feelings or reputation with unfriendly or bitter words.
A setting to work upon some task, etc.
An access of disease; a fit of sickness.
The beginning of corrosive, decomposing, or destructive action, by a chemical agent.
Webster 1828 Edition
ATTACK', v.t [Heb. to thrust, to drive, to strike.
1.To assault; to fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and arms. It is the appropriate word for the commencing act of hostility between armies and navies.
2.To fall upon, with unfriendly words or writing; to begin a controversy with; to attempt to overthrow or bring into disrepute, by satire, calumny or criticism; as, to attack a man or his opinions in a pamphlet.