Meaning of ATTACK in English


I. ə-ˈtak 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 attack ing her political enemies

3. : to begin to affect or to act on injuriously

plants attack ed 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

• at·tack·er noun


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


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)


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

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.