Synonyms of attack in English:


See definition of attack


1‘Christopher had been brutally attacked’


assault, beat, beat up, batter, thrash, pound, pummel, assail, set upon, fall upon, set about, strike at, let fly at, tear into, lash out at, aggress

ambush, mug, pounce on

informal jump, paste, do over, work over, knock about, knock around, rough up, lay into, lace into, sail into, pitch into, get stuck into, beat the living daylights out of, let someone have it

British informal have a go at, duff someone up

North American informal beat up on, light into

2‘by eight o'clock the French had still not attacked’


begin an assault, charge, pounce, strike, begin hostilities, ambush

bombard, shell, blitz, strafe, fire at, fire on

rush, storm



3‘the clergy have consistently attacked government policies’


criticize, censure, condemn, castigate, chastise, lambaste, pillory, savage, find fault with, fulminate against, abuse

berate, reprove, rebuke, reprimand, admonish, remonstrate with, reproach, take to task, haul over the coals, impugn, harangue, blame, revile, vilify, give someone a bad press

informal knock, slam, take to pieces, pull apart, crucify, bash, hammer, lay into, tear into, sail into, roast, give someone a roasting, cane, blast, bawl out, dress down, rap over the knuckles, have a go at, give someone hell

British informal carpet, slate, slag off, rubbish, monster, rollick, give someone a rollicking, give someone a rocket, tear someone off a strip, tear a strip off someone

North American informal chew out, ream out, pummel, cut up

NZ Australian informal bag

British vulgar slang bollock, give someone a bollocking

dated rate

archaic slash

rare excoriate, objurgate, reprehend



4‘they have started to attack the problem of threatened species’


attend to, address, see to, deal with, grapple with, confront, direct one's attention to, focus on, concentrate on, apply oneself to

buckle down to, get to work on, go to work on, set to work on, set about, get started on, undertake, embark on

informal get stuck into, get cracking on, get weaving on, have a crack at, have a go at, have a shot at, have a stab at

5‘the virus attacks the liver, heart, and lungs’


affect, have an effect on, strike, strike at, take hold of, infect

damage, injure




1‘they were killed in an attack on their home’


assault, onslaught, offensive, strike, blitz, raid, sortie, sally, storming, charge, rush, drive, push, thrust, invasion, incursion, inroad

act of aggression

historical razzia

archaic onset

2‘she wrote a ferociously hostile attack on him’


criticism, censure, rebuke, admonition, admonishment, reprimand, reproval

condemnation, denunciation, revilement

invective, vilification

tirade, diatribe, rant, polemic, broadside, harangue, verbal onslaught, stricture

informal knocking, telling-off, dressing-down, rap over the knuckles, earful, roasting, rollicking, caning

British informal rocket, wigging, slating, ticking off, carpeting, bashing, blast

British vulgar slang bollocking

dated rating

rare philippic


commendation, defence

3‘she had suffered an acute asthmatic attack’


fit, seizure, spasm, convulsion, paroxysm, outburst, flare-up

bout, spell, dose

rare access