Did you know?

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

attack

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

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.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
verb British English pronunciation: attack /əˈtæk/ 
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theyattack
he/she/itattacks
present participleattacking
past tenseattacked
past participleattacked
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to use violence to harm a person, animal, or place

    It was shortly before midnight when the terrorists attacked.

    attack someone with something:

    Two prison officers were brutally attacked with a knife.

    1. a.
      to use weapons to try to defeat an enemy

      The enemy attacked at dawn.

      US jets attacked five air defence sites in the north.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to strongly criticize someone or something for their ideas or actions

    Opponents attacked the government's plan to increase road tax.

    attack someone/something for (doing) something:

    Parliament has been attacked for failing to take action.

    attack something as something:

    The deputy Prime Minister last night attacked the decision as foolish.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to cause damage or disease in something

    The virus attacks the body's red blood cells.

    The wood had been attacked by a fungus.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to begin working on something or doing something with enthusiasm and determination

    We need to attack the problem now before it gets worse.

    She was just about to attack a plate of spaghetti when the phone rang.

  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] to try to score points against an opponent in a game or sport

    They attacked with determination and defended well.

emoji

a small digital image … which is used in electronic communication to express emotion or other simple concepts

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

major on (doing) sth

to have or do a lot of something; to focus on a particular thing

add a word

Blog

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