Attack definition

ə-tăk
To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner.
verb
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To use force against in order to harm; start a fight with; strike out at with physical or military force; assault.
verb
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To make an assault.
verb
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To begin working on energetically; undertake (a problem, task, etc.) vigorously.
verb
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To speak or write against, esp. with vigor; criticize, denounce, censure, etc.
verb
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The onset of a disease, or the recurrence of a chronic disease.
noun
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To set upon with violent force.
verb
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The act or an instance of attacking; an assault.
noun
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The act of attacking.
noun
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The definition of attack is to make an attempt to hurt someone or something (physically or verbally), to destroy someone or something, to impact someone or something in a dangerous manner, or to forcibly take someone or something.

An example of attack is a couple calling each other terrible names when they get into a fight.

An example of attack is to rip up all the pictures one has of their ex.

An example of attack is mold growing inside the walls of a house.

An example of attack is a man holding a gun to a woman’s head, and demanding her purse and jewelry.

verb
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To start work on with purpose and vigor.

Attack a problem.

verb
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To act on in a detrimental way; cause harm to.

A disease that attacks the central nervous system; lawn furniture attacked by corrosion.

verb
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An expression of strong criticism; hostile comment.

Vicious attacks in all the newspapers.

noun
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To make an attack; launch an assault.

The enemy attacked during the night.

verb
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Attack means a sudden bout of illness, often one that returns from time to time, or a bout of intense feelings.

When a person has asthma and they have an episode where they can’t breathe, it is an example of an attack.

When the anniversary of a death comes around and a person experiences the blues for a few days, it is an example of an attack.

noun
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Attack is the act of dealing with something, occasionally in an aggressive manner.

When a person decides to tackle the mound of papers on their desk and go through everything, it is an example of an attack.

noun
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Attack is the start of something dangerous and damaging, often in relation to some type of chemical substance.

An attack is when battery acid begins to corrode and destroy the battery itself.

noun
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The definition of attack is to take on or handle something, sometimes aggressively.

An example of attack is a person finally taking on the cleaning of their crammed closets.

verb
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To play (the ball) aggressively, especially by moving toward it rather than by waiting for it to arrive.
verb
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To make a sudden, intense effort to pull ahead in a race.
verb
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An episode or onset of a disease, especially an occurrence of a chronic disease.

An asthma attack.

noun
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The experience or beginning of a feeling, need, or desire.

An attack of hunger; an attack of melancholy.

noun
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Offensive play, especially in lacrosse.
noun
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An offensive play.

Two midfielders were involved in the attack that resulted in a goal.

noun
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The players executing such a play.
noun
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Scoring ability or potential.

A team with a powerful attack.

noun
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A forceful shot over the net in volleyball.
noun
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A sudden, intense effort to pull ahead in a race.

Waited until the last lap to begin her attack.

noun
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The initial movement in a task or undertaking.

Made an optimistic attack on the pile of paperwork.

noun
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A method or procedure.

Our attack on this project will have two phases.

noun
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(music) The beginning or manner of beginning a piece, passage, or tone.
noun
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Decisiveness and clarity in artistic expression.

A careful performance, but one lacking the rigorous attack the work demands.

noun
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Act or manner of such beginning.
noun
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(music) Promptness and precision in beginning a passage or phrase.
noun
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Designed or used for carrying out a hostile or aggressive attack.

A political attack ad.

adjective
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Trained to attack on command.

An attack dog.

adjective
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An episode or onset of a disease, often sudden in nature.
noun
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An assault against a computer system or network as a result of deliberate, intelligent action; for example, denial-of-service attacks, penetration and sabotage. See attacker, attack vector, brute force attack, dictionary attack, denial-of-service attack, replay attack, piggybacking, penetration and sabotage.
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The term attack can be used in a number of ways, from the more general meaning of an attempt by a cracker to break into a computer to deface a home page or to install a virus on a computer to the more technical information security approach of the term, meaning an attack to a cryptosystem. In the latter usage, a security professional is suggesting that a cracker is searching for weaknesses in the computer system that will allow him or her to decrypt encrypted information in that system. The various types of attacks on computer systems are many and include the following: passive attacks, which, when using sniffers, can take place by eavesdropping and may not be detected; active attacks, which require some interaction such as altering data and can be detected; remote attacks, which do not occur on-site; a hit-and-run ping of death attack, which crashes a computer; a smurf or persistent attack, which affects the target’s machine for a limited amount of time—and then lets it return to normal; a replay attack, which is an active attack whereby the cracker tries to capture message parts and then resend a message sometime later with changes; a brute-force attack, which is a fatiguing attempt to try all combinations until a successful break-in occurs; a man-in-the-middle attack, which involves either eavesdropping on an existing connection or interposing oneself in the middle of a connection and changing data; a hijack attack, which literally hijacks one side of a connection; and rewrite attacks, which change an encrypted message without first decrypting it. Targeted attacks that have the goal of taking over control of a computer system typically contain five distinct phases. In the reconnaissance phase, the attacker tries to find potential candidates for an attack; he or she gathers information about the infrastructure of a network, the people involved in using and managing the network, and the computers attached to it. The second phase includes a scan of the system or a range of systems for vulnerabilities. In the third phase, the vulnerabilities are exploited, either by gaining access to the system or denying service to it. In the fourth phase, the attacker uses a variety of methods to gain access by installing a back door listener, a RootKit, or a Kernel-level RootKit. The last phase of an attack typically involves the attacker’s covering his or her tracks so that the administrator of a computer system would find it difficult to detect that the system has been compromised. Graham, R. Hacking Lexicon. [Online, 2001.] Robert Graham Website. http://www.linuxsecurity.com/resource_files/documentation/hacking-dict.html.
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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.

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

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

noun
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(cricket) Collectively, the bowlers of a cricket side.
noun
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(volleyball) Any contact with the ball other than a serve or block which sends the ball across the plane of the net.
noun
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(lacrosse) The three attackmen on the field or all the attackmen of a team.
noun
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The sudden onset of a disease.

I´ve had an attack of the flu.

noun
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An active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease.
noun
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(audio) 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).
noun
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To apply violent force to someone or something.

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

verb
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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.

verb
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To begin to affect; to act upon injuriously or destructively; to begin to decompose or waste.
verb
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To deal with something in a direct way; to set to work upon.

We´ll have dinner before we attack the biology homework.

I attacked the meal with a hearty appetite.

verb
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(cricket) To aim balls at the batsman’s wicket.
verb
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(intransitive, cricket) To set a field, or bowl in a manner designed to get wickets.
verb
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(intransitive, cricket) To bat aggressively, so as to score runs quickly.
verb
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(soccer) To move forward in an attempt to actively score point, as opposed to trying not to concede.
verb
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In volleyball, to hit (the ball) forcefully over the net.
verb
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To make a sudden, intense effort to pass (a competitor in a race).
verb
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Attack is defined as the act of making a physical or verbal attempt to hurt or destroy, sometimes in a purposefully hurtful manner.

When a military unit discovers an enemy building, and they begin heavy firing and bombing, it is an example of an attack.

When two presidential candidates have a debate and end up slinging insults back in forth in order to undermine the other’s chances, it is an example of an attack.

noun
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To move toward (the goal) on an offensive play, as in lacrosse.
verb
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To make a play on offense; attempt to score.
verb
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To begin acting upon harmfully or destructively.

The disease attacked him suddenly.

verb
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Any hostile offensive action, esp. with armed forces; onslaught.
noun
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A beginning of any task, undertaking, etc.
noun
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
attack
Plural:
attacks

Origin of attack

  • French attaquer from Old French from Old Italian estaccare of Germanic origin

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Borrowing from French attaque, derived from the verb attaquer, from Italian attaccare (“to join, attach”) used in attaccare battaglia (“to join battle”). Cognate with Italian attacca and German Attacke.

    From Wiktionary