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attrition

[uh-trish-uh n] /əˈtrɪʃ ən/
noun
1.
a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength:
Our club has had a high rate of attrition because so many members have moved away.
2.
a wearing down or weakening of resistance, especially as a result of continuous pressure or harassment:
The enemy surrounded the town and conducted a war of attrition.
3.
a gradual reduction in work force without firing of personnel, as when workers resign or retire and are not replaced.
4.
the act of rubbing against something; friction.
5.
a wearing down or away by friction; abrasion.
6.
Theology. imperfect contrition.
See under contrition (def 2).
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English < Latin attrītiōn- (stem of attrītiō) friction. See attrite, -ion
Related forms
attritional, adjective
attritive
[uh-trahy-tiv] /əˈtraɪ tɪv/ (Show IPA),
adjective
interattrition, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for attritive

attrition

/əˈtrɪʃən/
noun
1.
the act of wearing away or the state of being worn away, as by friction
2.
constant wearing down to weaken or destroy (often in the phrase war of attrition)
3.
Also called natural wastage. a decrease in the size of the workforce of an organization achieved by not replacing employees who retire or resign
4.
(geography) the grinding down of rock particles by friction during transportation by water, wind, or ice Compare abrasion (sense 3), corrasion
5.
(theol) sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation, esp as contrasted with contrition, which arises purely from love of God
Derived Forms
attritional, adjective
attritive (əˈtraɪtɪv) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin attrītiō a rubbing against something, from Latin atterere to weaken, from terere to rub
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for attritive
attrition
1540s, "abrasion, a scraping," from L. attritionem (nom. attritio), lit. "a rubbing against," noun of action from attritus pp. of atterere "to wear, rub away," from ad- "to" + terere "to rub" (see throw). The earliest sense in Eng. is from Scholastic theology (late 14c.), "sorrow for sin merely out of fear of punishment," a minor irritation, and thus less than contrition. The sense of "wearing down an enemy's strength" is a World War I coinage (1914).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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attritive in Medicine

attrition at·tri·tion (ə-trĭsh'ən)
n.
A wearing away by friction or rubbing, such as the loss of tooth structure caused by abrasive foods or grinding of the teeth.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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