Topic: SPORT

Date: 1600-1700
Language: French
Origin: attaquer, from Old Italian attaccare 'to attach', from stacca 'sharp post'


2 verb
attack2 S2 W2

use violence

[intransitive and transitive] to deliberately use violence to hurt a person or damage a place:
She was attacked while walking home late at night.
His shop was attacked by a gang of youths.
Snakes will only attack if you disturb them.
attack somebody/something with something
He needed 200 stitches after being attacked with a broken bottle.

in a war

[intransitive and transitive] to start using guns, bombs etc against an enemy in a war:
Army tanks attacked a village near the capital on Sunday.


[transitive] to criticize someone or something very strongly:
Last year Dr Travis publicly attacked the idea that abortion should be available on demand.
attack somebody for (doing) something
Newspapers attacked the government for failing to cut taxes.


[transitive] if something such as a disease, insect, or chemical attacks something, it damages it:
a cruel disease that attacks the brain and nervous system

begin doing

[transitive] to begin to do something in a determined and eager way:
She immediately set about attacking the problem.
Martin attacked his meal (=started eating) with vigour.


[intransitive and transitive]DS to move forward and try to score goals or win points [↪ defend]:
Brazil began to attack more in the second half of the match.
WORD FOCUS: criticize WORD FOCUS: criticize
to criticize someone or something very strongly: attack, lay into, tear somebody/something to shreds, pillory, pan

to criticize someone unfairly: put somebody down, slag somebody off BrE informal, talk about somebody behind their back, bitch about informal

to criticize small details: pick holes

See also

Explore SPORT Topic