at|tack1 W1S2 [əˈtæk] n
1¦(violence against somebody/something)¦
2¦(in a war)¦
6¦(attempt to stop something)¦
an act of violence that is intended to hurt a person or damage a place
attack on
There have been several attacks on foreigners recently.
a bomb attack
a knife attack
an arson attack (=an attempt to destroy a building using fire)
victims of racial attacks
2.) ¦(IN A WAR)¦ [U and C]
the act of using weapons against an enemy in a war
The attack began at dawn.
attack on
the attack on Pearl Harbor
be/come under attack
Once again we came under attack from enemy fighter planes.
Rebel forces launched (=started) an attack late Sunday night.
air/missile/nuclear etc attack
the threat of nuclear attack
3.) ¦(CRITICISM)¦ [U and C]
a strong and direct criticism of someone or something
attack on
The magazine recently published a vicious personal attack on the novelist.
be/come under attack
(=be strongly criticized)
The company has come under fierce attack for its decision to close the factory.
go on the attack
(=start to criticize someone severely)
4.) ¦(ILLNESS)¦
a sudden short period of suffering from an illness, especially an illness that you have often
attack of
I had a bad attack of flu at Christmas.
He died after suffering a severe asthma attack .
5.) ¦(EMOTION)¦
a short period of time when you suddenly feel extremely frightened or worried and cannot think normally or deal with the situation
panic/anxiety attack
Her heart began to pound frantically, as if she were having a panic attack.
attack of
a sudden attack of nerves
actions that are intended to get rid of or stop something such as a system, a set of laws etc
attack on
The new measures were seen by many as an attack on the Scottish way of life.
7.) ¦(SPORT)¦
a) [U and C]
an attempt by a player or group of players to score ↑goals or win points
b) BrE [singular]
the players in a team that are responsible for trying to score ↑goals or win points
American Equivalent: offense
→↑defence in attack
Heath will play alongside Smith in attack.
8.) ¦(DAMAGE)¦ [U and C]
when something such as a disease, insect, or chemical damages something
Unfortunately, the carved ceilings have suffered woodworm attack over the years.
attack 2
attack2 W2S2 v
1¦(use violence)¦
2¦(in a war)¦
5¦(begin doing)¦
[Date: 1600-1700; : French; Origin: attaquer, from Old Italian attaccare 'to attach', from stacca 'sharp post']
1.) ¦(USE VIOLENCE)¦ [I and T]
to deliberately use violence to hurt a person or damage a place
She was attacked while walking home late at night.
His shop was attacked by a gang of youths.
Snakes will only attack if you disturb them.
attack sb/sth with sth
He needed 200 stitches after being attacked with a broken bottle.
2.) ¦(IN A WAR)¦ [I and T]
to start using guns, bombs etc against an enemy in a war
Army tanks attacked a village near the capital on Sunday.
3.) ¦(CRITICIZE)¦ [T]
to criticize someone or something very strongly
Last year Dr Travis publicly attacked the idea that abortion should be available on demand.
attack sb for (doing) sth
Newspapers attacked the government for failing to cut taxes.
strongly/bitterly/savagely etc attack sb/sth
4.) ¦(DAMAGE)¦ [T]
if something such as a disease, insect, or chemical attacks something, it damages it
a cruel disease that attacks the brain and nervous system
5.) ¦(BEGIN DOING)¦ [T]
to begin to do something in a determined and eager way
She immediately set about attacking the problem.
Martin attacked his meal (=started eating) with vigour.
6.) ¦(SPORT)¦ [I and T]
to move forward and try to score ↑goals or win points
Brazil began to attack more in the second half of the match.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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