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c.1600, from French attaquer (16c.), from Florentine Italian attaccare (battaglia) "join (battle)," thus the word is a doublet of attach, which was used 15c.-17c. also in the sense now reserved to attack. Related: Attacked; attacking.
1660s, from attack (v.). Cf. Middle English attach "a seizure or attack" (of fever), late 14c.
attack at·tack (ə-tāk')
An episode or onset of a disease, often sudden in nature.