Definition of attrit in English:



  • Wear down (an opponent or enemy) by sustained action.

    ‘his defense was designed to attrit us’
    • ‘Until we achieve this level of coordination of effective fire and movement, the enemy will use their superior firepower to attrit us before we can close with and destroy them.’
    • ‘This finally brought the task force freedom of movement along main supply routes into and out of the city, as the enemy's outlying forces were attrited.’
    • ‘Under some rare and fortunate circumstances, you can attrit the enemy without actually killing him.’
    • ‘The current operational tempo will continue to attrit units as they come off of their mobilization, at increasingly high numbers.’
    • ‘It had been attrited to such a point by air strikes that it was no longer a viable fighting unit.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, they would seek to attrit the US Air Force through the use of air defense guns and missiles that could fire rapidly and then immediately move.’
    • ‘While the men have been working inside the city, other Marines have been relentlessly chasing and attriting the enemy outside the city.’
    • ‘These divisions were placed in the Bloody Lane because they had been heavily attrited during the engagements at South Mountain.’
    • ‘That's very subjective but I believe that air power today will attrit a division at about 8 per cent per day.’


First World War: back-formation from attrition.