American English

Definition of attack verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they attack
    he / she / it attacks
    past simple attacked
    -ing form attacking
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    use violence
  1. 1[intransitive, transitive, often passive] to use violence to try to hurt or kill someone Most dogs will not attack unless provoked. attack somebody A woman was attacked and robbed. attack somebody with something The man attacked him with a knife.
  2. in war
  3. 2[intransitive, transitive] to use weapons, such as guns and bombs, against an enemy in a war, etc. The guerrillas attack at night. attack somebody/something At dawn the army attacked the town.
  4. criticize
  5. 3[transitive] to criticize someone or something severely attack somebody/something a newspaper article attacking the governor attack somebody/something for something/for doing something She has been attacked for ignoring her own party members.
  6. damage
  7. 4[transitive] attack something to have a harmful effect on something a disease that attacks the brain The vines were attacked by mildew.
  8. do something with energy
  9. 5[transitive] attack something to deal with something with a lot of energy and determination Let's attack one problem at a time.
  10. in sports
  11. 6[intransitive] to go forward in a game in order to try to score goals or points The Penguins attacked more in the second half and deserved a goal. compare defend
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: attack