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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
war of attrition
▪ That compares with an attrition rate of just over a quarter during Ronald Reagan's presidency.
▪ It assumes a 5 percent annual attrition rate but that might be over-generous.
▪ The 2. 05 percent attrition rate the agency had managed to maintain promised to go straight through the roof.
▪ Their attrition rates generally are even higher than the rates at four-year institutions.
▪ The faculty was undistinguished, teaching methods uninspired, and the attrition rate, of course, appalling.
▪ The attrition rate was horrible, especially on the days that Nabers ordered strenuous exercise drills.
▪ Siemens builds an attrition rate into its design and does not anticipate that all students will finish.
▪ a war of attrition
▪ It assumes a 5 percent annual attrition rate but that might be over-generous.
▪ One is to continue his war of attrition against parliament, albeit from a position of greater strength since the referendum.
▪ Part of the attrition on my military reserves had been the expenses.
▪ The 2. 05 percent attrition rate the agency had managed to maintain promised to go straight through the roof.
▪ Their attrition rates generally are even higher than the rates at four-year institutions.
▪ These are the economics, not of efficiency, but of attrition.
▪ Worse was expected to come as industrial and domestic consumption of electricity picked up after the attrition of the war years.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Attrition \At*tri"tion\, n. [L. attritio: cf. F. attrition.]

  1. The act of rubbing together; friction; the act of wearing by friction, or by rubbing substances together; abrasion.

    Effected by attrition of the inward stomach.

  2. The state of being worn.

  3. (Theol.) Grief for sin arising only from fear of punishment or feelings of shame. See Contrition.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1540s, "abrasion, a scraping," from Latin attritionem (nominative attritio), literally "a rubbing against," noun of action from past participle stem of atterere "to wear, rub away," figuratively "to destroy, waste," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + terere "to rub" (see throw (v.)). The earliest sense in English 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 of military strength" is a World War I coinage (1914). Figurative use by 1930.


n. 1 wearing or grinding down by friction 2 the gradual reduction in a tangible or intangible resource due to causes that are passive and do not involve productive use of the resource. 3 (context human resources English) A gradual, natural reduction in membership or personnel, as through retirement, resignation, or death 4 (context sciences English) The loss of participants during an experiment 5 (context theology English) Imperfect contrition or remorse 6 (context dentistry English) The wearing of teeth due to their grinding

  1. n. erosion by friction [syn: abrasion, corrasion, detrition]

  2. the wearing down of rock particles by friction due to water or wind or ice [syn: grinding, abrasion, detrition]

  3. sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation [syn: contrition, contriteness]

  4. a wearing down to weaken or destroy; "a war of attrition"

  5. the act of rubbing together; wearing something down by friction


Attrition may refer to the gradual reduction of the size of a workforce by not replacing personnel lost through retirement or resignation

  • Attrition warfare, the military strategy of wearing down the enemy by continual losses in personnel and matériel
  • Loss of personnel by Withdrawal (military)
  • Attrition (medicine, epidemiology), the loss of participants during an experiment
  • Attrition (dental), the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from opposing teeth
  • Attrition (erosion), the wearing away of rocks in the sea
  • Imperfect contrition, also known as attrition, in Catholic theology
  • Customer attrition, loss of business clients or customers
  • Language attrition, the loss of a first or second language or a portion of that language by either a community or an individual
  • War of Attrition, a limited war fought between Egypt and Israel from 1968 to 1970
  • Employees leaving a company to join somewhere else

proper names:

  • War of attrition (game), a model of aggression in game theory, formulated by John Maynard Smith
  • Attrition (band), an electronic music band
  • Attrition (website), a security website
Attrition (band)

Attrition are an electronic music band, formed in Coventry, England in 1980 by Martin Bowes and Julia Niblock. The band emerged from the experimental post-punk scene of the early 1980s and, along with other groups such as Throbbing Gristle, Coil, Einstürzende Neubauten, and In the Nursery, greatly contributed to the development of industrial music in the UK. Still active 30 years later, Attrition have been a stanchion of darkwave and industrial music, influencing many younger bands in the genres while continuously fine tuning their own distinctive sound.

Attrition (medicine, epidemiology)

In science, attrition are ratios regarding the loss of participants during an experiment. Attrition rates are values that indicate the participant drop out. Higher attrition rates are found in longitudinal studies.

Attrition (website)

Attrition is an information security-related website, updated at least weekly by an all-volunteer staff. Until 21 May 2001, Attrition maintained the largest mirror of defaced (or cracked) websites available on the World Wide Web. The defacement mirror has since ceased updating.

Often incorrectly described by journalists as a site for hackers, Attrition is actually a privately owned and operated hobby-site operated primarily by Brian Martin (who goes by various aliases on his website, including Jericho, Jared E. Richo, and security curmudgeon) with a variety of information available, including movie and music reviews, poetry, and security tips covering topics like forensics, data theft, security advisories, and incident response.

The "Going Postal" section, some of the more interesting emails the staffers get are posted, sometimes with humorous responses by the staff, often at the expense of the recipients. Exploiting the ignorance of others is a common theme in's dark humor throughout the website. One example of this involved the setup of Todd Shriber, who attempted to "hire" the attrition team to hack into his former university to change his grades. Shriber was sacked from his job as a Republican communications director due to the incident.

The website was hacked and defaced itself in 2001; site owner Brian Martin commented that he could not be held accountable to the same standards he held security companies accountable to, since he was not running a security service. The site was defaced again in 2003 by a group called PHC.

In 2001 was given a cease and desist order by lawyers of MasterCard for supposedly posting parodies of the now-famous "Priceless" advertising campaign, which violated copyright law. The original parodies have since been removed from the website when the image gallery was later closed, but the correspondence between Jericho and MasterCard's retained lawyers has been published.

Since updating of the defacement mirror has ceased in May 2001, the staff has focused on the "Errata" section, which is devoted to pointing out inaccuracies, omissions, and other problems with mainstream media related to computer security and hacking. Additionally, staff members publish opinion pieces such as "Security Rants" pointing out problems with the computer security industry.

Attrition will frequently publish pages, or devote entire sections of a project, to topics the staff feel deserve extra attention. Examples include "Cisco: There is no fixed software for this issue," "Security Advisories," "Negation," regarding John Vranesevich and; "Shame," regarding Carolyn Meinel.

Attrition formerly hosted several electronic mailing lists relating to information security, such as InfoSec News. It also maintained the Data Loss Database, which records the data breaches at companies.

In addition to his involvement with, founder Brian Martin is currently President of the Open Security Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to monitor, report, and maintain historical archives of security flaws and incidents.

Attrition (dental)

Dental attrition is a type of tooth wear caused by tooth-to-tooth contact, resulting in loss of tooth tissue, usually starting at the incisal or occlusal surfaces. Tooth wear is a physiological process and is commonly seen as a normal part of aging. Advanced and excessive wear and tooth surface loss can be defined as pathological in nature, requiring intervention by a dental practitioner. The pathological wear of the tooth surface can be caused by bruxism, which is clenching and grinding of the teeth. If the attrition is severe, the enamel can be completely worn away leaving underlying dentin exposed, resulting in an increased risk of dental caries and dentin hypersensitivity. It is best to identify pathological attrition at an early stage to prevent unnecessary loss of tooth structure as enamel does not regenerate.

Attrition (erosion)

Attrition is a form of coastal or river erosion, when the bed load is eroded by itself and the bed. As rocks are transported downstream along a riverbed, the regular impacts between the grains themselves and between the grains and the bed cause them to be broken up into smaller fragments. This process also makes them rounder and smoother. Attrition can also occur in glaciated regions, where it is caused by the movement of ice with embedded boulders over surface sediments.

Pebbles are more affected by attrition further upstream, as the rivers' velocity tends to be higher, and therefore its competence (ability to carry sediment) is increased. This means that the load rubs against itself more and with more force when suspended in the river, thus increasing erosion by attrition, though there is a point after transport over a certain distance that pebbles reach a size that is relatively immune to further attrition. Grain-size distribution of sediments produced by attrition will also be controlled by the lithology of the rock from which they are derived.

The effects of attrition can be mistaken for the effects of sorting, in which the grain size of sediments is affected by sediment transport mechanisms e.g. suspension vs. bed load. This affects pebble beaches the most as the pebbles smash into each other, which causes them to smooth.

Usage examples of "attrition".

She was beautiful in a neutral way, emitting no light, defining herself in terms of attrition, a skinny thing, near blond, far beyond recall from the hard-edged rhythms of her Me, Southwestern woman, hard to remember and forget.

Wave upon wave of attackers would be sent against the camp until sheer attrition won the day.

Time and attrition would destroy them as surely as an attack by overwhelming odds.

There is a milder degree than pure shen, Shuven, and a more intense degree than Shenshid, Shidoni, which refers literally to death by attrition and in some societies at various times in history was the one word never spoken aloud.

Digen had felt just this so often at the brink of attrition, at the gathering of a fourth primary abort, at the lip of sudden death.

The selyn flows in the little nerve fibers were shutting down in attrition, and Digen, as he finished, could barely see them to avoid hitting them with the needle.

Or I could be close to death by attrition and not experience half the agony of the ordinary Sime in disjunction.

If he can show that I died of attrition when my so-called Companion was taken by an ordinary Sime in the kill, the entire Tecton will come under official investigation.

Rimon almost died of attrition before finally, on the fourth try, he completed the kill of a Gen presented to him.

Rimon lifted her, trying for a grip to snap her neck, she twisted and instinctively grasped at his arms as rapid attrition drained her life.

On the brink of attrition, Vee uttered a choked cry, convulsed by the worst breakout contractions Rimon had ever seen.

Her death may have been due to this very condition, for she died of attrition in childbirth.

McQueen had already proved herself capable of playing the attrition game when that was her only option.

This one is going to turn into a slugfest with heavy attrition on both sides.

The high usufferingfering in the war had caught attrition rates the Israelis were s up with Moshe Levy and his crew.