Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

attrition - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [uncountable] attrition pronunciation in American English /əˈtrɪʃ(ə)n/
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    a reduction in size, numbers, or strength
    attrition rate/rate of attrition: Fifty volunteers left in the first year, a surprisingly high attrition rate.
  2. 2
    a deliberate gradual reduction in the number of workers in an organization, as a result of the organizations not replacing those who leave or die
    Another 500 jobs are being eliminated through retirement and attrition.
  3. 3
    formal the process of making an enemy physically and mentally weaker by continuously attacking them
    war of attrition: Since 1985 they had been fighting a bloody war of attrition with hundreds of casualties on both sides.


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog