attack Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Definition of “attack” - English Dictionary

"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 ​wildanimals won't attack ​unless they are ​provoked. [I/T] If a ​disease or a ​chemical attacks something, it ​damages it: [T] The ​stresshormone cortisol attacks the ​immunesystem.
  • 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, ​shortperiod of ​illness, or a ​suddenfeeling that you cannot ​control: [C] an ​asthma attack [C] How do you ​letyourkids go without having ​anxiety attacks?
  • attack noun [C/U] (CRITICISM)

An attack is also ​strongcriticism 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)







"attack" in British English

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attackverb

uk   us   /əˈtæk/
  • attack verb (HURT)

B1 [I or T] to ​try to ​hurt or ​defeat using ​violence: He was attacked and ​seriouslyinjured by a ​gang of ​youths. Army ​forces have been attacking the ​town since ​dawn. Most ​wildanimals won't attack ​unless they are ​provoked.
Compare

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  • attack verb (CRITICIZE)

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

attacknoun

uk   us   /əˈtæk/
  • attack noun (VIOLENT ACT)

B1 [C or U] a ​violentactintended to ​hurt or ​damage someone or something: a ​racist attack Enemy ​forces have made an attack on the ​city. These ​bombblastssuggest 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 ​strongcriticism of someone or something: a scathing attack on the ​president The ​government has come under attack from all ​sides for ​cuttingeducationspending.
  • attack noun (ILLNESS)

[C] a ​sudden and ​shortperiod 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 ​scorepoints: The ​team has a ​strong attack, but ​itsdefence is ​weak. The ​team is ​strong inattack but ​useless in ​defence. [U] determination in the way you ​play a ​sport, ​trying hard to ​scorepoints: The ​teamneeds to put some more attack into ​itsgame.
(Definition of attack from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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