verb (used with object)
- to set upon in a forceful, violent, hostile, or aggressive way, with or without a weapon; begin fighting with: He attacked him with his bare hands.
- to begin hostilities against; start an offensive against: to attack the enemy.
- to blame or abuse violently or bitterly.
- to direct unfavorable criticism against; criticize severely; argue with strongly: He attacked his opponent’s statement.
- to try to destroy, especially with verbal abuse: to attack the mayor’s reputation.
- to set about (a task) or go to work on (a thing) vigorously: to attack housecleaning; to attack the hamburger hungrily.
- (of disease, destructive agencies, etc.) to begin to affect.
verb (used without object)
- to make an attack; begin hostilities.
- the act of attacking; onslaught; assault.
- a military offensive against an enemy or enemy position.
- Pathology. seizure by disease or illness: an attack of indigestion.
- the beginning or initiating of any action; onset.
- an aggressive move in a performance or contest.
- the approach or manner of approach in beginning a musical phrase.
- to launch a physical assault (against) with or without weapons; begin hostilities (with)
- (intr) to take the initiative in a game, sport, etcafter a few minutes, the team began to attack
- (tr) to direct hostile words or writings at; criticize or abuse vehemently
- (tr) to turn one’s mind or energies vigorously to (a job, problem, etc)
- (tr) to begin to injure or affect adversely; corrode, corrupt, or infectrust attacked the metal
- (tr) to attempt to rape
- the act or an instance of attacking
- strong criticism or abusean unjustified attack on someone’s reputation
- an offensive move in a game, sport, etc
- commencement of a task, etc
- any sudden and usually severe manifestation of a disease or disordera heart attack; an attack of indigestion
- the attack ball games the players in a team whose main role is to attack the opponents’ goal or territory
- music decisiveness in beginning a passage, movement, or piece
- music the speed with which a note reaches its maximum volume
- an attempted rape
c.1600, from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) “join (battle),” thus the word is a doublet of , which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Related: Attacked; attacking.
1660s, from attach “a seizure or attack” (of fever), late 14c.(v.). Cf. Middle English
- An episode or onset of a disease, often sudden in nature.