Definition of attack noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈtæk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈtæk//
    Being ill, Conflict
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] attack (on somebody) an act of using violence to try to hurt or kill somebody a series of racist attacks A child is recovering in hospital after a serious attack by a stray dog.
  2. in war
  3. 2  [countable, uncountable] attack (on somebody/something) an act of trying to kill or injure the enemy in war, using weapons such as guns and bombs to launch/make/mount an attack The patrol came under attack from all sides. CollocationsWar and peaceStarting a war declare/​make/​wage war (on somebody/​something) go to war (against/​with somebody) cause/​spark/​provoke/​foment/​quell unrest incite/​lead/​crush/​suppress a revolt/​rebellion launch/​mount/​carry out a surprise/​terrorist attack prevent/​halt/​represent an escalation of the conflict be torn apart by/​be on the brink of civil war enter/​invade/​occupy somebody’s territory lead/​launch/​resist/​repel an invasionMilitary operations adopt/​develop/​implement/​pursue a military strategy carry out/​execute/​perform military operations/​manoeuvres/(especially US English) maneuvers send/​deploy/​station/​pull back/​withdraw troops go on/​fly/​carry out a reconnaissance/​rescue mission train/​equip/​deploy army/​military/​combat units lead/​launch/​conduct a raid/​a surprise attack/​an (air/​airborne/​amphibious) assault (on somebody) employ/​use guerrilla tactics conduct/​wage biological/​guerrilla warfare fight/​crush/​defeat the rebels/​the insurgency suffer/​inflict a crushing defeat achieve/​win a decisive victory halt/​stop the British/​German/​Russian advance order/​force a retreatFighting join/​serve in the army/​navy/​air force be/​go/​remain/​serve on active duty serve/​complete/​return from a tour of duty be sent to the front (line) attack/​strike/​engage/​defeat/​kill/​destroy the enemy see/​report/​be engaged in heavy fighting call for/​be met with armed resistance come under heavy/​machine-gun/​mortar fire fire a machine-gun/​mortar shells/​rockets (at somebody/​something) shoot a rifle/​a pistol/​bullets/​missiles launch/​fire a cruise/​ballistic/​anti-tank missile use biological/​chemical/​nuclear weapons inflict/​suffer/​sustain heavy losses/​casualties be hit/​killed by enemy/​friendly/​artillery fire become/​be held as a prisoner of warCivilians in war harm/​kill/​target/​protect innocent/​unarmed civilians cause/​avoid/​limit/​minimize civilian casualties/​collateral damage impose/​enforce/​lift a curfew engage in/​be a victim of ethnic cleansing be sent to an internment/​a concentration camp accept/​house/​resettle refugees fleeing from war fear/​threaten military/​violent reprisals commit/​be accused of war crimes/​crimes against humanity/​genocideMaking peace make/​bring/​win/​achieve/​maintain/​promote peace call for/​negotiate/​broker/​declare a ceasefire/​a temporary truce sign a ceasefire agreement call for/​bring/​put an end to hostilities demand/​negotiate/​accept the surrender of somebody/​something establish/​send (in) a peacekeeping force negotiate/​conclude/​ratify/​sign/​accept/​reject/​break/​violate a peace treaty see also counter-attack Wordfinderalert, assassinate, attack, campaign, execute, extremist, hijack, hostage, kidnap, terrorism See related entries: Conflict
  4. criticism
  5. 3  [countable, uncountable] attack (on somebody/something) strong criticism of somebody/something in speech or in writing a scathing attack on the government’s policies The school has come under attack for failing to encourage bright pupils.
  6. action to stop something
  7. 4  [countable] attack (on something) an action that you take to try to stop or change something that you feel is bad to launch an all-out attack on poverty/unemployment
  8. of illness
  9. 5  [countable] a sudden, short period of illness, usually severe, especially an illness that you have often to suffer an asthma attack an acute attack of food poisoning a panic attack (figurative) an attack of the giggles see also heart attack See related entries: Being ill
  10. of emotion
  11. 6  [countable] a sudden period of feeling an emotion such as fear an attack of nerves
  12. damage
  13. 7[uncountable, countable] the action of something such as an insect, or a disease, that causes damage to something/somebody The roof timbers were affected by rot and insect attack.
  14. in sport
  15. 8  [singular] (British English) (North American English offense) the players in a team whose job is to try to score goals or points Germany's attack has been weakened by the loss of some key players through injury. compare defence
  16. 9  [countable, uncountable] the actions that players take to try to score a goal or win the game a sustained attack on the Arsenal goal
  17. Word Originearly 17th cent.: from French attaque (noun), attaquer (verb), from Italian attacco ‘an attack’, attaccare ‘join battle’, based on an element of Germanic origin (see attach).Extra examples Bombers pressed home their attack, causing severe damage to harbour installations. Doctors have gone on the attack, accusing the government of incompetence. He has laid himself wide open to attack. He suffers from attacks of anxiety. He was subjected to a violent attack. Is this a personal attack on the president, or a criticism of the government? It was seen as a personal attack on the president. Most of the population would stand little chance of surviving a nuclear attack. Stephen had died in an unprovoked racist attack. The administration may launch a pre-emptive attack against terrorist bases. The attack took place under cover of darkness. The border towns have suffered a series of attacks. The first line of attack is often name-calling. The government’s decision has provoked an attack from leaders of the health service. The province has been under attack from the rebels. The soldiers mounted an all-out attack on the town. They came under sustained attack from the air. Two teenagers carried out a frenzied attack on a local shopkeeper. Where did the attack happen? a fatal heart attack a heart attack brought on by stress a sudden attack of nerves an attack by an armed gang an attack by rebel forces an attack on a bus driver an attack on enemy positions an attack on my integrity an increase in knife attacks on police officers attacks against civilians the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor vicious attacks against pensioners vicious attacks against senior citizens An attack of nerves took hold of her. He died after suffering an asthma attack. He is recovering in hospital after an acute attack of food poisoning. He ordered his men to mount an attack on the city. Not everyone who has problems with stress and anxiety will have panic attacks. Police have reported a series of racist attacks. She launched a scathing attack on the government’s policies. The school has come under attack for failing to encourage bright students.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: attack