Etymology: Middle French attaquer, from Old Italian *estaccare to attach, from stacca stake, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English staca
1. to set upon or work against forcefully
2. to assail with unfriendly or bitter words <a speech attacking her political enemies> 3. to begin to affect or to act on injuriously <plants attacked by aphids> 4. to set to work on <attack a problem> 5. to threaten (a piece in chess) with immediate capture intransitive verb to make an attack • attacker noun Synonyms: attack, assail, assault, bombard, storm mean to make an onslaught upon. attack implies taking the initiative in a struggle <plan to attack the town at dawn>. assail implies attempting to break down resistance by repeated blows or shots <assailed the enemy with artillery fire>. assault suggests a direct attempt to overpower by suddenness and violence of onslaught <commandos assaulted the building from all sides>. bombard applies to attacking with bombs or shells <bombarded the city nightly>. storm implies attempting to break into a defended position <preparing to storm the fortress>. II. noun Date: 1655 1. the act of attacking with physical force or unfriendly words ; assault 2. a belligerent or antagonistic action 3. a. a fit of sickness; especially an active episode of a chronic or recurrent disease b. a period of being strongly affected by something (as a desire or mood) 4. a. an offensive or scoring action <won the game with an 8-hit attack> b. offensive players or the positions taken up by them 5. the setting to work on some undertaking <made a new attack on the problem> 6. the beginning of destructive action (as by a chemical agent) 7. the act or manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase III. adjective Date: 1899 designed, planned, or used for carrying out a military attack <an attack helicopter>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.