English dictionary

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English noun: attack

1. attack (act) (military) an offensive against an enemy (using weapons)

SamplesThe attack began at dawn.

Synonymsonrush, onset, onslaught

Broader (hypernym)military operation, operation

Narrower (hyponym)banzai attack, banzai charge, blitz, blitzkrieg, bombardment, bombing, charge, counterattack, countermove, coup de main, diversion, diversionary attack, fire, firing, ground attack, incursion, penetration, strafe, strike, surprise attack

Part holonymassault

Domain categoryarmed forces, armed services, military, military machine, war machine

2. attack (act) an offensive move in a sport or game

SamplesThey won the game with a 10-hit attack in the 9th inning.

Broader (hypernym)play, turn

Narrower (hyponym)counterattack, counterplay

3. attack (communication) intense adverse criticism

SamplesClinton directed his fire at the Republican Party.
The government has come under attack.
Don't give me any flak.

Synonymsblast, fire, flack, flak

Broader (hypernym)criticism, unfavorable judgment

4. attack (act) ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation

SamplesHis approach to every problem is to draw up a list of pros and cons.
An attack on inflation.
His plan of attack was misguided.

Synonymsapproach, plan of attack

Broader (hypernym)conceptualisation, conceptualization, formulation

Narrower (hyponym)avenue

5. attack (act) the act of attacking

SamplesAttacks on women increased last year.
They made an attempt on his life.


Broader (hypernym)crime, criminal offence, criminal offense, law-breaking, offence, offense

Narrower (hyponym)assault

6. attack (act) a decisive manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase


Broader (hypernym)beginning, commencement, start

7. attack (state) a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition

SamplesAn attack of diarrhea.

Broader (hypernym)affliction

Narrower (hyponym)anxiety attack, apoplexy, cerebrovascular accident, convulsion, CVA, fit, flare, heart attack, hysterics, ictus, occlusion, paroxysm, raptus, seizure, spot, stroke, touch

8. attack (process) the onset of a corrosive or destructive process (as by a chemical agent)

SamplesThe film was sensitive to attack by acids.
Open to attack by the elements.

Broader (hypernym)degeneration, devolution

9. attack (act) strong criticism

SamplesHe published an unexpected attack on my work.

Broader (hypernym)criticism, unfavorable judgment

Narrower (hyponym)aspersion, calumny, defamation, denigration, slander

English verb: attack

1. attack (competition) launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with

SamplesHitler attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 and started World War II.
Serbian forces assailed Bosnian towns all week.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)contend, fight, struggle

Narrower (hyponym)beleaguer, besiege, blitz, bomb, bombard, bust, cannonade, circumvent, counterattack, counterstrike, gas, hem in, hit, invade, occupy, pelt, pepper, raid, storm, strafe, strike, submarine, surprise, surround, torpedo

Verb groupaggress, attack


2. attack (communication) attack in speech or writing

SamplesThe editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker.

Synonymsassail, assault, lash out, round, snipe

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody.
Something ----s somebody.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)criticise, criticize, knock, pick apart

Narrower (hyponym)abuse, barrage, blackguard, blister, bombard, clapperclaw, claw, rip, rubbish, scald, shout, vitriol, whang, whip

3. attack (competition) take the initiative and go on the offensive

SamplesThe Serbs attacked the village at night.
The visiting team started to attack.


Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s.
Somebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)act, move

Narrower (hyponym)check, fork, harass, pin, tackle

Verb groupassail, attack

4. attack (competition) attack someone physically or emotionally

SamplesThe mugger assaulted the woman.
Nightmares assailed him regularly.

Synonymsassail, assault, set on

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody.
Something ----s somebody

Narrower (hyponym)assault, bait, beset, blindside, bulldog, desecrate, dishonor, dishonour, jump, molest, outrage, outrage, profane, rape, ravish, reassail, rush, savage, set, set upon, sic, violate, violate

5. attack (change) set to work upon; turn one's energies vigorously to a task

SamplesI attacked the problem as soon as I got out of bed.

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)begin, commence, get, get down, set about, set out, start, start out

6. attack (body) begin to injure

SamplesThe cancer cells are attacking his liver.
Rust is attacking the metal.

Pattern of useSomething ----s something

Broader (hypernym)affect

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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