attack Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “attack” in the English Dictionary

"attack" in British English

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attackverb

uk   /əˈtæk/ us   /əˈtæk/
  • 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.

attacknoun

uk   /əˈtæk/ us   /əˈtæk/
  • 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).

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  • 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
(Definition of attack from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"attack" in American English

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attackverb

us   /əˈtæk/
  • attack verb (HURT)

[I/T] to try to hurt or defeat someone or something using violence: [T] Two campers were attacked by a bear last night. [I] Most wild animals won't attack unless they are provoked.
[I/T] If a disease or a chemical attacks something, it damages it: [T] The stress hormone cortisol attacks the immune system.
  • attack verb (CRITICIZE)

[T] to criticize someone or something strongly: Critics have attacked her ideas as antidemocratic. In TV ads, he attacked his opponent’s record.
attacker
noun [C] us   /əˈtæk·ər/

attacknoun [C/U]

us   /əˈtæk/
  • attack noun [C/U] (HURT)

An attack is also a sudden, short period of illness, or a sudden feeling that you cannot control: [C] an asthma attack [C] How do you let your kids go without having anxiety attacks?
  • attack noun [C/U] (CRITICISM)

An attack is also strong criticism of someone or something: [U] The more he speaks out, the more he comes under attack.
(Definition of attack from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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