What does attack mean?

Definitions for attack

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word attack.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. attack, onslaught, onset, onrushnoun

    (military) an offensive against an enemy (using weapons)

    "the attack began at dawn"

  2. attacknoun

    an offensive move in a sport or game

    "they won the game with a 10-hit attack in the 9th inning"

  3. fire, attack, flak, flack, blastnoun

    intense adverse criticism

    "Clinton directed his fire at the Republican Party"; "the government has come under attack"; "don't give me any flak"

  4. approach, attack, plan of attacknoun

    ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation

    "his approach to every problem is to draw up a list of pros and cons"; "an attack on inflation"; "his plan of attack was misguided"

  5. attack, attemptnoun

    the act of attacking

    "attacks on women increased last year"; "they made an attempt on his life"

  6. attack, tone-beginningnoun

    a decisive manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase

  7. attacknoun

    a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition

    "an attack of diarrhea"

  8. attacknoun

    the onset of a corrosive or destructive process (as by a chemical agent)

    "the film was sensitive to attack by acids"; "open to attack by the elements"

  9. attackverb

    strong criticism

    "he published an unexpected attack on my work"

  10. attack, assailverb

    launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with

    "Hitler attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 and started World War II"; "Serbian forces assailed Bosnian towns all week"

  11. attack, round, assail, lash out, snipe, assaultverb

    attack in speech or writing

    "The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker"

  12. attack, aggressverb

    take the initiative and go on the offensive

    "The Serbs attacked the village at night"; "The visiting team started to attack"

  13. assail, assault, set on, attackverb

    attack someone physically or emotionally

    "The mugger assaulted the woman"; "Nightmares assailed him regularly"

  14. attackverb

    set to work upon; turn one's energies vigorously to a task

    "I attacked the problem as soon as I got out of bed"

  15. attackverb

    begin to injure

    "The cancer cells are attacking his liver"; "Rust is attacking the metal"


  1. attacknoun

    An attempt to cause damage or injury to, or to somehow detract from the worth or credibility of, a person, position, idea, object, or thing, by physical, verbal, emotional, or other assault.

    They claimed the censorship of the article was an attack of free speech.

  2. attacknoun

    A time in which one attacks. The offence of a battle.

    The army timed their attack to coincide with the local celebrations.

  3. attacknoun

    Collectively, the bowlers of a cricket side.

  4. attacknoun

    Any contact with the ball other than a serve or block which sends the ball across the plane of the net.

  5. attacknoun

    The three attackmen on the field or all the attackmen of a team.

  6. attacknoun

    The sudden onset of a disease.

    Iu00B4ve had an attack of the flu.

  7. attacknoun

    An active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease.

  8. attacknoun

    The amount of time it takes for the volume of an audio signal to go from zero to maximum level (e.g. an audio waveform representing a snare drum hit would feature a very fast attack, whereas that of a wave washing to shore would feature a slow attack).

  9. attackverb

    To apply violent force to someone or something.

    This species of snake will only attack humans if it feels threatened.

  10. attackverb

    To aggressively challenge a person, idea, etc., with words (particularly in newspaper headlines, because it typesets into less space than "criticize" or similar).

    She published an article attacking the recent pay cuts.

  11. attackverb

    To deal with something undesirable in a direct way.

    Weu00B4ll have dinner before we attack the biology homework.

  12. attackverb

    To aim balls at the batsman's wicket.

  13. attackverb

    To set a field, or bowl in a manner designed to get wickets.

  14. attackverb

    To bat aggressively, so as to score runs quickly.

  15. attackverb

    To move forward in an attempt to actively score point, as opposed to trying not to concede.

  16. Etymology: From attaque, derived from the verb attaquer, from attaccare used in attaccare battaglia, "to join battle". Cognate with Italian attacca and German Attacke.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Attacknoun

    An assault upon an enemy.

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Hector opposes, and continues the attack; in which, after many actions, Sarpedon makes the first breach in the wall. Alexander Pope, Iliad, argum. b. xii.

    If appriz’d of the severe attack,
    The country be shut up. James Thomson.

    I own ’twas wrong, when thousands call’d me back,
    To make that hopeless, ill-advis’d attack. Edward Young.

  2. To ATTACKverb

    Etymology: attaquer, Fr.

    The front, the rear
    Attack, while Yvo thunders in the center. Ambrose Philips, Briton.

    Those that attack, generally get the victory, though with disadvantage of ground. Richard Kane, Campaigns.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Attackverb

    to fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and arms; to assault

  2. Attackverb

    to assail with unfriendly speech or writing; to begin a controversy with; to attempt to overthrow or bring into disrepute, by criticism or satire; to censure; as, to attack a man, or his opinions, in a pamphlet

  3. Attackverb

    to set to work upon, as upon a task or problem, or some object of labor or investigation

  4. Attackverb

    to begin to affect; to begin to act upon, injuriously or destructively; to begin to decompose or waste

  5. Attackverb

    to make an onset or attack

  6. Attacknoun

    the act of attacking, or falling on with force or violence; an onset; an assault; -- opposed to defense

  7. Attacknoun

    an assault upon one's feelings or reputation with unfriendly or bitter words

  8. Attacknoun

    a setting to work upon some task, etc

  9. Attacknoun

    an access of disease; a fit of sickness

  10. Attacknoun

    the beginning of corrosive, decomposing, or destructive action, by a chemical agent

  11. Etymology: [Cf. F. attaque.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Attack

    at-tak′, v.t. to fall upon violently: to assault: to assail with unfriendly words or writing: to begin to affect, fall upon (of diseases).—n. an assault or onset: the offensive part in any contest: the beginning of active operations on anything, even dinner: severe criticism or calumny.—adj. Attack′able. [Fr. attaquer. See Attach, of which it is a doublet.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. attack

    A general assault or onset upon an enemy. Also the arrangement for investment or battle. (See FALSE ATTACK.)

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. attack

    Any general assault or onset that is given to gain a post or break a body of troops. False attack, a feigned or secondary movement in the arrangements of an assault, intended to divert the attention of an enemy from the real or principal attack. Such a movement has been sometimes converted into a real attack, and succeeded when the main assault, to which it was intended to be subsidiary, had failed. Attack of a siege is a furious attack made by the besiegers by means of trenches, galleries, saps, breaches, or mines, etc., by storming any part of the front attack. To attack in front or flank, in fortifications, means to attack the salient angle, or both sides of the bastion.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'attack' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1322

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'attack' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2288

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'attack' in Nouns Frequency: #407

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'attack' in Verbs Frequency: #349

How to pronounce attack?

How to say attack in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of attack in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of attack in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of attack in a Sentence

  1. Jacob George:

    By switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes we found an average percentage point improvement of 1.5 within just one month, and to put that into context, each percentage point improvement in vascular function results in a 13% reduction in cardiovascular event rates, such as heart attack.

  2. Xiao Xu:

    When caring for younger patients with heart attack, especially younger women patients, we should look beyond their physical health and pay attention to their psychosocial status as well, although our study demonstrated a strong relationship between higher mental stress and worse recovery, we cannot make causal inferences.

  3. Corry Bliss:

    CLF is going on offense and spending early to attack and define Democrats in House races across the country.

  4. Daniel Pout:

    Pout, Daniel Pout, thinks Democratic Socialists of America might someday have a chance at building enough support to run candidates of Democratic Socialists of America own, under the Socialist Party banner. There’s an attack on the center, in both parties, on business-as-usual, jeff Flake, in my state, decided not to run again, Jeff Flake sees no way Jeff Flake can fight against this anti-establishment, anti-status-quo.

  5. Ben Hodges:

    It doesn't guarantee that there's going to be another attack, but you would not execute another attack unless you have that in hand.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for attack

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • aanvalAfrikaans
  • حملة, هجوم, هاجمArabic
  • həmlə, hücumAzerbaijani
  • нападзе́нне, атакава́ць, напа́д, напада́ць, напа́сціBelarusian
  • нападам, нападение, настъпление, нападе́ние, атака, атакувам, нахвърлям се, пристъпBulgarian
  • argadennBreton
  • atacar, atacCatalan, Valencian
  • útok, útočitCzech
  • angribe, overfalde, angrebDanish
  • Angriff, angreifen, attackieren, Attacke, AnfallGerman
  • επιτίθεμαι, προσβολή, κρίση, επίθεση, ανάκρουση, έφοδος, καταπιάνομαιGreek
  • ataki, agresi, atakoEsperanto
  • ataque, atacarSpanish
  • kallaletung, ründama, halvustama, rünnak, haigushoogEstonian
  • eraso, erasoaldiBasque
  • حمله, یورشPersian
  • hyökätä, hyökkäys, iskulyönti, käydä kimppuun, kohtaus, käydä käsiksi, hyökkääjäFinnish
  • attaquer, attaqueFrench
  • oanfalle, oanfalWestern Frisian
  • ionsaigh, ionsaíIrish
  • ionnsaigh, thoir ionnsaighScottish Gaelic
  • הִתְקִיף, הַתְקָפָהHebrew
  • हमलाHindi
  • támadásHungarian
  • serang, serbuIndonesian
  • attaccoItalian
  • 攻撃Japanese
  • თავდასხმა, შეტევა, იერიშიGeorgian
  • 공격하다, 攻擊, 공격Korean
  • په‌له‌مار, êrîş, تێبه‌ربوونKurdish
  • атака кылуу, качырып кирүү, зыян, таасир, чабуул, таасирлөө, качыруу, чабуул жасоо, кол салуу, асылууKyrgyz
  • pugnaLatin
  • pulti, atakuotiLithuanian
  • uzbrukums, uzbruktLatvian
  • kōkiri, upokotaua, huaki, whakatokeMāori
  • ആക്രമിക്കുക, ആക്രമണംMalayalam
  • serangan, serangMalay
  • aanval, aanvallen, aanvalszijdeDutch
  • atak, napad, atakować, napadać, napaśćPolish
  • ataque, atacar, investidaPortuguese
  • atac, atacaRomanian
  • ата́ка, нападе́ние, уда́р, при́ступ, напада́ть, напа́сть, критикова́ть, атакова́ть, припа́док, штурмRussian
  • napad, napasti, napadati, напад, нападати, напастиSerbo-Croatian
  • útokSlovak
  • napasti, napadSlovene
  • anfalla, attack, attackera, anfall, angripaSwedish
  • దాడి చేయు, దాడి, దండెత్తుTelugu
  • ҳамла, ҳуҷумTajik
  • การโจมตี, โจมตีThai
  • hücûm, saldırı, hamle, taarruz, saldırmakTurkish
  • на́пад, напада́ти, напа́сти, ата́ка, атакува́тиUkrainian
  • حملہUrdu
  • công kích, 攻撃Vietnamese
  • tatak, tatakönVolapük
  • 攻擊Chinese

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    diverge from the expected
    • A. aberrate
    • B. huff
    • C. abet
    • D. flub

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