To set upon with violent force. To criticize strongly or in a hostile manner. To start work on with purpose and vigor: attack a problem. To begin to affect harmfully: a disease that attacks the central nervous system. To make an attack; launch an assault: The enemy attacked during the night. The act or an instance of attacking; an assault. An expression of strong criticism; hostile comment: vicious attacks in all the newspapers. Sports An offensive action in a sport or game. Sports The players executing such an action. The initial movement in a task or undertaking: made an optimistic attack on the pile of paperwork. A method or procedure: Our attack on this project will have two phases. An episode or onset of a disease, especially an occurrence of a chronic disease: an asthma attack. The experience or beginning of a feeling, need, or desire: an attack of hunger; an attack of melancholy. Music The beginning or manner of beginning a piece, passage, or tone. Decisiveness and clarity in artistic expression: a careful performance, but one lacking the rigorous attack the work demands.