I. verb Etymology: Middle French attaquer, from Old Italian *estaccare to attach, from stacca stake, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English staca Date: 1562 transitive verb 1. to set upon or work against forcefully 2. to assail with unfriendly or bitter words <
a speech attacking her political enemies
3. to begin to affect or to act on injuriously <
plants attacked by aphids
4. to set to work on <
attack a problem
5. to threaten (a piece in chess) with immediate capture intransitive verb to make an attack • attacker noun Synonyms: attack, assail, assault, bombard, storm mean to make an onslaught upon. attack implies taking the initiative in a struggle <
plan to attack the town at dawn
. assail implies attempting to break down resistance by repeated blows or shots <
assailed the enemy with artillery fire
. assault suggests a direct attempt to overpower by suddenness and violence of onslaught <
commandos assaulted the building from all sides
. bombard applies to attacking with bombs or shells <
bombarded the city nightly
. storm implies attempting to break into a defended position <
preparing to storm the fortress
. II. noun Date: 1655 1. the act of attacking with physical force or unfriendly words ; assault 2. a belligerent or antagonistic action 3. a. a fit of sickness; especially an active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease b. a period of being strongly affected by something (as a desire or mood) 4. a. an offensive or scoring action <
won the game with an 8-hit attack
b. offensive players or the positions taken up by them 5. the setting to work on some undertaking <
made a new attack on the problem
6. the beginning of destructive action (as by a chemical agent) 7. the act or manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase III. adjective Date: 1899 designed, planned, or used for carrying out a military attack <
an attack helicopter

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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