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


2 verb
Related topics: Sport
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

Dictionary results for "attack"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.