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attack (v.)

c. 1600, "assault, assail, begin hostilities against," from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) "join (battle)," thus the word is a doublet of attach, which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Meaning "endeavor to bring into discredit by writing, proposals, etc." is from 1640s. General sense of "begin action" is from 1670s, originally of diseases. Related: Attacked; attacking.

attack (n.)

1660s, "violent onset, a falling on with violence and force," from attack (v.). Meaning "fit of a disease" is from 1811. Compare Middle English attach "a seizure or attack" (of fever), late 14c.

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Definitions of attack from WordNet
1
attack (n.)
(military) an offensive against an enemy (using weapons);
the attack began at dawn
Synonyms: onslaught / onset / onrush
attack (n.)
an offensive move in a sport or game;
they won the game with a 10-hit attack in the 9th inning
attack (n.)
intense adverse criticism;
the government has come under attack
Synonyms: fire / flak / flack / blast
attack (n.)
ideas or actions intended to deal with a problem or situation;
an attack on inflation
his plan of attack was misguided
Synonyms: approach / plan of attack
attack (n.)
the act of attacking;
attacks on women increased last year
Synonyms: attempt
attack (n.)
a decisive manner of beginning a musical tone or phrase;
Synonyms: tone-beginning
attack (n.)
a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition;
an attack of diarrhea
attack (n.)
the onset of a corrosive or destructive process (as by a chemical agent);
open to attack by the elements
the film was sensitive to attack by acids
attack (n.)
strong criticism;
he published an unexpected attack on my work
2
attack (v.)
launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with;
Hitler attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 and started World War II
Synonyms: assail
attack (v.)
attack in speech or writing;
The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker
Synonyms: round / assail / lash out / snipe / assault
attack (v.)
take the initiative and go on the offensive;
The visiting team started to attack
The Serbs attacked the village at night
Synonyms: aggress
attack (v.)
attack someone physically or emotionally;
Synonyms: assail / assault / set on
attack (v.)
set to work upon; turn one's energies vigorously to a task;
I attacked the problem as soon as I got out of bed
attack (v.)
begin to injure;
The cancer cells are attacking his liver
Rust is attacking the metal
From wordnet.princeton.edu