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Webster 1913 Edition


Attack

At-tack′

,
Verb.
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.

At-tack′

,
Verb.
I.
To make an onset or attack.

At-tack′

,
Noun.
[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.

Webster 1828 Edition


Attack

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.

ATTACK'

,
Noun.
An onset; first invasion; a falling on, with force or violence, or with calumny, satire or criticism.

Definition 2022


attack

attack

English

Noun

attack (plural attacks)

  1. An attempt to cause damage, injury to, or death of opponent or enemy.
  2. An attempt to detract from the worth or credibility of, a person, position, idea, object, or thing, by physical, verbal, emotional, or other assault.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
      “I came down like a wolf on the fold, didn’t I ?  Why didn’t I telephone ?  Strategy, my dear boy, strategy. This is a surprise attack, and I’d no wish that the garrison, forewarned, should escape. …”
    • 2013 July 19, Mark Tran, Denied an education by war”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 1:
      One particularly damaging, but often ignored, effect of conflict on education is the proliferation of attacks on schools [] as children, teachers or school buildings become the targets of attacks. Parents fear sending their children to school. Girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence.
    They claimed the censorship of the article was an attack on free speech.
  3. A time in which one attacks. The offence of a battle.
    The army timed their attack to coincide with the local celebrations.
  4. (cricket) Collectively, the bowlers of a cricket side.
  5. (volleyball) Any contact with the ball other than a serve or block which sends the ball across the plane of the net.
  6. (lacrosse) The three attackmen on the field or all the attackmen of a team.
  7. The sudden onset of a disease.
    I've had an attack of the flu.
  8. An active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease.
  9. (music) The onset of a musical note, particularly with respect to the strength (and duration) of that onset.
  10. (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).

Synonyms

  • (volleyball): hit, spike
  • See also Wikisaurus:attack

Antonyms

Hyponyms

Related terms

Translations

Verb

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.
    • 2012 June 3, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “Mr. Plow” (season 4, episode 9; originally aired 11/19/1992)”, in (Please provide the title of the work):
      In its God-like prime, The Simpsons attacked well-worn satirical fodder from unexpected angles, finding fresh laughs in the hoariest of subjects.
  3. (transitive) To begin to affect; to act upon injuriously or destructively; to begin to decompose or waste.
    • Macaulay
      On the fourth of March he was attacked by fever.
    • B. Stewart
      Hydrofluoric acid [] attacks the glass.
  4. (transitive) To deal with something in a direct way; to set to work upon.
    We´ll have dinner before we attack the biology homework.
    I attacked the meal with a hearty appetite.
  5. (transitive, cricket) To aim balls at the batsman’s wicket.
  6. (intransitive, cricket) To set a field, or bowl in a manner designed to get wickets.
  7. (intransitive, cricket) To bat aggressively, so as to score runs quickly.
  8. (soccer) To move forward in an active attempt to score a point, as opposed to trying not to concede.
    • 2011 October 15, Michael Da Silva, “Wigan 1 - 3 Bolton”, in BBC Sport:
      Six successive defeats had left them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table but, clearly under instructions to attack from the outset, Bolton started far the brighter.
  9. (cycling) To accelerate quickly in an attempt to get ahead of the other riders.

Synonyms

  • See also Wikisaurus:attack

Translations


Swedish

Etymology

Borrowing from English attack.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /aˈtak/

Noun

attack c

  1. attack; an attempt to cause damage
  2. attack; offense of a battle

Declension

Inflection of attack 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative attack attacken attacker attackerna
Genitive attacks attackens attackers attackernas

Related terms