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attack - definition and synonyms


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verb attack pronunciation in British English /əˈtæk/
Word Forms
present tense
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.
    Synonyms and related words
    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.
    Synonyms and related words
  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.
    Synonyms and related words
  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.
    Synonyms and related words
  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] to try to score points against an opponent in a game or sport
    They attacked with determination and defended well.
    Synonyms and related words


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