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



    BrE BrE//əˈtæk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈtæk//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they attack
    BrE BrE//əˈtæk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈtæk//
    he / she / it attacks
    BrE BrE//əˈtæks//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈtæks//
    past simple attacked
    BrE BrE//əˈtækt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈtækt//
    past participle attacked
    BrE BrE//əˈtækt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈtækt//
    -ing form attacking
    BrE BrE//əˈtækɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈtækɪŋ//
    Committing crime, Conflict
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    use violence
  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive, often passive] to use violence to try to hurt or kill somebody Most dogs will not attack unless provoked. attack somebody A woman was attacked and robbed by a gang of youths. attack somebody with something The man attacked him with a knife. See related entries: Committing crime
  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. Wordfinderaggression, arms, army, attack, casualty, conflict, defend, hostile, territory, war See related entries: Conflict
  4. criticize
  5. 3  [transitive] to criticize somebody/something severely attack somebody/something a newspaper article attacking the England football manager 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 sport
  11. 6[intransitive] to go forward in a game in order to try to score goals or points compare defend Spain attacked more in the second half and deserved a goal.
  12. 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 He attacked her with a knife. She was brutally attacked by two men. The police have been strongly attacked for not taking immediate action. Bacteria act on sugars to form acids which attack the tooth surface. He attacked the idea that the company’s practices were bad for the environment. It’s alleged that the man savagely attacked the pensioner in his home. Let’s attack one problem at a time. The disease attacks the central nervous system. The guerrillas usually attack at night. The studio audience repeatedly attacked the minister for her stance. The vines had been attacked by mildew. The virus attacks different cells in the body. They run a helpline for women who have been sexually attacked.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: attack