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English definition of “attack”

attack

verb uk   /əˈtæk/ us  

attack verb (HURT)

B1 [I or T] to try to hurt or defeat using violence: He was attacked and seriously injured by a gang of youths. Army forces have been attacking the town since dawn. Most wild animals won't attack unless they are provoked.
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attack verb (CRITICIZE)

C1 [T] to criticize someone strongly: She wrote an article attacking the judges and their conduct of the trial. The report attacks the idea of exams for seven and eight-year-olds.

attack verb (DAMAGE)

C2 [T] If something, such as a disease or a chemical, attacks something, it damages it: AIDS attacks the body's immune system. My rose bushes are being attacked by greenfly.

attack verb (SPORT)

[I or T] If players in a team attack, they move forward to try to score points, goals, etc.

attack verb (DEAL WITH)

[T] to deal with something quickly and in an effective way: We have to attack these problems now and find some solutions. The children rushed in and eagerly attacked the food (= quickly started to eat it).

attack

noun uk   /əˈtæk/ us  

attack noun (VIOLENT ACT)

B1 [C or U] a violent act intended to hurt or damage someone or something: a racist attack Enemy forces have made an attack on the city. These bomb blasts suggest that the terrorists are (going) on the attack (= trying to defeat or hurt other people) again. The town was once again under attack (= being attacked).

attack noun (CRITICISM)

C2 [C or U] a strong criticism of someone or something: a scathing attack on the president The government has come under attack from all sides for cutting education spending.

attack noun (ILLNESS)

[C] a sudden and short period of illness: an attack of asthma/flu/malariafigurative an attack of the giggles

attack noun (SPORT)

B1 [C or U] the part of a team in some sports that tries to score points: The team has a strong attack, but its defence is weak. The team is strong in (US on) attack but useless in defence. [U] determination in the way you play a sport, trying hard to score points: The team needs to put some more attack into its game.
(Definition of attack from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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