Dictionary: AT-TACK' – AT-TASTE

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AT-TACK', v.t. [Fr. attaquer; Arm. attacqi; It. attaccare, to fasten, to engage in battle; attacco, a sticking; Sp. atacar, to assault, to fasten or make close, to cram; Port. atacar, to attack, to seize, to fasten; Heb. and Ch. תקע, to thrust, to drive, to strike. It seems to be allied to attach; but the latter verb agrees better with the Eth. ጠወቀ tok, took, to press, whence አጥወቀ, atook, to press, to make close; and the Ch. טח, to accuse, to unite. Class Dg.]

  1. To assault; to fall upon with force; to assail, as with force and arms. It is the appropriate word for the commencing act of hostility between armies and navies.
  2. To fall upon, with unfriendly words or writing; to begin a controversy with; to attempt to overthrow or bring into disrepute, by satire, calumny or criticism; as, to attack a man or his opinions in a pamphlet.


That can be attacked; assailable.


Assaulted; invaded; fallen on by force or enmity.


One who assaults or invades.


Assaulting; invading; falling on with force, calumny or criticism.


Pertaining to the Attacotti, a tribe of ancient Britons, allies of the Scots. – Pinkerton.


A beautiful fowl, resembling the pheasant, with a short black bill and a fine crest of yellow feathers, variegated with black and white spots, found in the mountains of Sicily. – Dict. of Nat. Hist.


A weapon like a sword, used by the Turks.

AT-TAIN, v.i. [Fr. and Norm. atteindre; L. attingo, to reach, come to or overtake; ad and tango; to touch, reach or strike; that is, to thrust, urge or push to. It has no connection with L. attineo. See Class Dg.]

  1. To reach; to come to or arrive at, by motion, bodily exertion, or efforts toward a place or object. If by any means they might attain to Phenice. – Acts xxvii.
  2. To reach; to come to or arrive at, by an effort of mind. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I can not attain to it. Ps. cxxxix. Regularly this verb should be always followed by to; the omission of to, and the use of the verb, in a transitive sense, may have originated in mistake, from the opinion that the verb is from the L. attineo, and equivalent to obtain.

AT-TAIN, v.t.

  1. To gain; to compass; to achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; without to following. Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means? – Tillotson. This use of the verb is now established; but in strictness to is here implied; attain to the end. The real sense, as in the intransitive use of the verb, is, to reach or come to the end or purpose in view. This word always implies an effort toward an object. Hence it is not synonymous with obtain and procure, which do not necessarily imply such effort. We procure or obtain a thing by purchase or loan, and we obtain by inheritance, but we do not attain it by such means. An inattention to this distinction has led good authors into great mistakes in the use of this word.
  2. To reach or come to a place or object by progression or motion. But ere such tidings shall his ears attain. Hoole's Tasso. Canaan he now attains. – Milton.
  3. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal. – Bacon.


Attainableness. – Coleridge.


That may be attained; that may be reached by efforts of the mind or body; that may be compassed or accomplished by efforts directed to the object; as, perfection is not attainable in this life. From an inattention to the true sense of this word, as explained under Attain, authors have very improperly used this word for obtainable, procurable; as in the following passages: “The kind and quality of food and liquor; the species of habitation, furniture and clothing to which the common people of each country are habituated, must be attainable with ease and certainty.” Paley, Phil. b. 6, ch. 11. “Gen. Howe would not permit them to be purchased in Philadelphia, and they (clothes and blankets) were not attainable in the country.” Marshall's Life of Washington, 3, 428. Each of these words should be obtainable.


The quality of being attainable.

AT-TAIN-DER, n. [Norm. Fr. atteindre, to corrupt, attaint; also conviction; L. ad and tingo, to stain; Gr. τεγγω. Class Dg. See Tinge.]

  1. Literally a staining, corruption, or rendering impure; a corruption of blood. Hence,
  2. The judgment of death, or sentence of a competent tribunal upon a person convicted of treason or felony, which judgment attaints, taints or corrupts his blood, so that he can no longer inherit lands. The consequences of this judgment are, forfeiture of lands, tenements and hereditaments, loss of reputation, and disqualification to be a witness in any court of law. A statute of Parliament attainting a criminal, is called an act of attainder. Upon the thorough demonstration of which guilt by legal attainder, the feudal covenant is broken. – Blackstone.
  3. The act of attainting. An act was made for the attainder of several persons. – Encyc. Note. By the constitution of the United States, no crime works an attainder.

AT-TAIN-ED, ppr.

Reached, achieved.


Reaching, arriving at, accomplishing.


  1. The act of attaining; the act of arriving at or reaching; hence the act of obtaining by efforts; as, the attainment of excellence.
  2. That which is attained to, or obtained by exertion; acquisition; as, a man of great attainments.


  1. A stain, spot or taint. [See Taint.] – Shak.
  2. Any thing injurious; that which impairs. [Obs.] – Shak.
  3. A blow or wound on the hinder feet of a horse. – Farriery.
  4. A writ which lies after judgment against a jury for giving a false verdict in any court of record.

AT-TAINT, v.t. [See Attainder.]

  1. To taint or corrupt; to extinguish the pure or inheritable blood of a person found guilty of treason or felony, by confession, battle, or verdict, and consequent sentence of death, or by special act of Parliament. No person shall be attainted of high treason where corruption of blood is incurred, but by the oath of two witnesses, &c. – Stat. 7 and 8, Will. III.
  2. To taint, as the credit of jurors, convicted of giving a false verdict. This is done by special writ of attaint. The conviction of such crime attaints the reputation of jurors, and renders them infamous.
  3. To disgrace; to cloud with infamy; to stain. – Spenser.
  4. To taint or corrupt. – Shak.


Stained; corrupted; rendered infamous; rendered incapable of inheriting.


Staining; corrupting; rendering infamous by judicial act; depriving of inheritable blood.


The being attainted.


A staining or rendering infamous; reproach, imputation.

AT-TASK', v.t.

To task; to tax. [Not used. See Task.] – Shak.

AT-TASTE, v.t.

To taste. [Not used. See Taste.]