Attrition Definition

A rubbing away or wearing down by friction.
American Heritage
The act or process of wearing away or grinding down by friction.
Webster's New World
A gradual reduction in number or strength because of stress or military action.
American Heritage
Any gradual wearing or weakening, esp. to the point of exhaustion.
A siege is a battle of attrition.
Webster's New World
A gradual reduction in personnel or membership because of resignation, retirement, or death, often viewed in contrast to reduction from layoffs.
American Heritage

Other Word Forms of Attrition



Origin of Attrition

  • Middle English attricioun regret, breaking from Old French attrition abrasion from Late Latin attrītiō attrītiōn- act of rubbing against from Latin attrītus past participle of atterere to rub against ad- against ad– terere to rub terə-1 in Indo-European roots

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

  • From Latin attritio (“a rubbing against”), from the verb attritus, past participle of atterere (“to wear”), from ad- (“to, towards”) + terere (“to rub”).

    From Wiktionary

Find Similar Words

Find similar words to attrition using the buttons below.

Words Starting With

Words Ending With