attack - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable] a violent attempt to harm a person, animal, or place

    a vicious attack

    attack on:

    measures to reduce the number of sexual attacks on young women

    1. a.
      [countable/uncountable] an organized attempt to defeat an enemy, using weapons

      a nuclear attack

      launch/mount an attack:

      We mounted a surprise attack against their ammunition depot.

      be/come under attack:

      The city was under attack throughout the night.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] strong criticism
    attack on:

    The book is widely seen as an attack on the education system.

    launch/mount an attack:

    He was outraged by the personal attacks launched against him.

    be/come under attack:

    Both candidates have come under attack for their health-care proposals.

  3. 3
    [countable] the beginning or return of an illness, or the period during which you have it

    a severe asthma attack

    attack of:

    an attack of the flu

    1. a.
      the beginning of a strong feeling or need, or the period during which you have it

      a hunger attack

      an anxiety attack

      attack of:

      an attack of spring fever

    See also heart attack
  4. 4
    [countable] an attempt to score points against an opponent in a game or sport

    Their attack in the final minutes wasn’t enough to win the game.