[[t]əˈtæk[/t]] v. t.
1) to set upon in a forceful, violent, hostile, or aggressive way, with or without a weapon; begin fighting with:
The guard dog attacked the prowler[/ex]
2) mil to begin hostilities against; start an offensive against:
to attack the enemy[/ex]
3) to accuse, blame, or criticize severely; abuse verbally
4) to try to harm, undermine, or destroy, esp. with verbal abuse:
to attack someone's reputation[/ex]
5) to set about doing or working on vigorously
6) (of disease, destructive agencies, etc.) to begin to affect
7) to make an attack; begin hostilities
8) the act of attacking; onslaught; assault
9) mil a military offensive against an enemy or enemy position
10) pat seizure by disease, illness, or other condition:
an attack of indigestion; an attack of hiccups[/ex]
11) an experiencing of some sensation or response:
an attack of remorse; an attack of the giggles[/ex]
12) the beginning or initiating of some action; onset
13) an aggressive move in a performance or contest
14) mus the approach or manner of approach in beginning a musical phrase
Etymology: 1590–1600; < MF atta(c)quer < It attaccare to attack, attach at•tack′a•ble, adj. at•tack′er, n. syn: attack, assail, assault all mean to set upon someone forcibly, with hostile or violent intent. attack is a general word that applies to the beginning of any planned aggressive action, physical or verbal: to attack an enemy from ambush; to attack a candidate's record. assail implies a vehement, sudden, and usu. repeated attack that aims to weaken an opponent: assailed by gunfire; assailed by gossip. assault implies a violent physical attack involving direct contact; it may also refer to a sudden and violent verbal attack: an elderly couple assaulted by a mugger; a reputation assaulted by the press.

From formal English to slang. 2014.

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