Meaning of “attack” in the English Dictionary

"attack" in British English

See all translations

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.
Compare

More examples

  • Her voice shook as she spoke about the person who attacked her.
  • He attacked the man with a broken bottle.
  • She used to love cats but one attacked her and she doesn't like them anymore.
  • The army has been criticized for attacking the unarmed civilian population.
  • Earlier today a man was arrested for attacking a motorist in a road rage incident.

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).

More examples

  • The terrorist attack on the UN building has shocked the civilized world.
  • The submarine dived just in time to avoid the enemy attack.
  • The police have to arm themselves against attack.
  • An 80-year-old woman was badly hurt in what the police describe as an apparently motiveless attack .
  • The rebel headquarters took a direct hit from a bomb during the attack.

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

"attack" in American English

See all translations

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.

Idiom(s)

(Definition of “attack” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Blogs about "attack"