Opposite of "AttacK"

What is the opposite of Attack? I have two answers. I want to know which one is correct.
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Saqib Husain, SyedEngineerAsked:
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Which meaning of "attack" are you referring to ? Is it the verb, or the noun ? In which context would you use it ?
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Saqib Husain, SyedEngineerAuthor Commented:
And which meaning ? In which context would you use it ?
Saqib Husain, SyedEngineerAuthor Commented:
What are the options?
You could attack an enemy (with an army, or a sports team, or words, or ...), attack a problem, ...
A disease could attack your body, corrosion could attack metal, ...

Just to name a few.

Rather than listing all the possible options, it would be easier if you said which one you had in mind ;)
Saqib Husain, SyedEngineerAuthor Commented:
attack an enemy
In which case, theras2000 was right from the start ;)

But it could also be "retreat".
>> But it could also be "retreat".

Although arguably, that's a better antonym for "advance".
Although, one might argue that while "defend" is an appropriate counter to "attack," it's not really the opposite.  To not attack someone is not the same as to defend someone.  

In fact, I'd say the best way to not attack someone is to ignore him.

So, the bigger question, I would think, is whether you want a strict antonym or a word to counter "attack."

Judging from your responses, it looks like you are looking for the latter. In that case, "defend" is pretty good.

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Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2ndCommented:
Decay. the attack of a sound or musical note is the way it begins eg fast for a drum beat or slow for a bowed violin. the decay is the way the sound finishes.
Saqib Husain, SyedEngineerAuthor Commented:
Defend, retreat, ignore.

I had the first two in mind when I asked the question. Later I had the "to not attack" come to mind and someone proposed that too.

So I guess that it would be a vote-out on the three. My vote goes to


I shall accept the answer with the most votes with assistance to the voters.

From a single standpoint, the opposite of "attack" is not "defend".

Try first-person as an example:

I'm going to attack that pizza.
I'm going to defend that pizza.
I'm going to retreat from that pizza.
I'm going to ignore that pizza.
I'm going to avoid that pizza.

"Defend" doesn't fit.  "Retreat" and "retreat from" don't make sense either.

Ignore would mean that you've acknowledged, evaluated, and decided that there is no threat.  Or, it could mean you're just ignorant...but that's beyond the scope of this.

Avoid means that you are taking action, so it might be a better fit.

Just think of "fight or flight".  In a real fight, there shouldn't be an objective to defend.  You win, or else you're eventually defeated.
"Avoid" is certainly a more active verb than "ignore."

I realized that the best phrase to represent the opposite of "attack" is to "live and let live."  So I did a Google search.  This web site has some pretty good options:

As you can see, you probably need to determine the context. Quite a few of these synonyms could apply, but you would change the meaning by saying, "I ignored the bully," "I overlooked the bully," "I avoided the bully," "I did not make waves with the bully," and "I tolerated the bully."  

Ultimately, it seems to me that the most general way to say, "not attack," is, well, "not attack."  But, there are plenty of words that can accommodate various situations.
Saqib Husain, SyedEngineerAuthor Commented:
I dont mind further suggestions but what I looking for now is votes. So Select one for your vote
"Not attack" is not actually a verb or an action.  "Did not" is the auxiliary verb to "attack", used to show negation.

He did not attack.
I did not attack.

So, out of context of a real sentence, "not attack" doesn't make much sense.
>> "Defend" doesn't fit.  "Retreat" and "retreat from" don't make sense either.

I asked which meaning of "attack" we were considering here. It was confirmed in http:#32036970 that we were talking about attacking an enemy. In which case, both retreat and defend make sense.

It does depend on which nuance of "attack" you're focusing on. Is it the action, the aggression, the movement, the tactic, the command, ... ?

It's difficult to vote on which one fits best. We'd have to see the word "attack" used in a specific phrase and context.
I don't really hold to having the Experts choose where the points go.  It's your question, and they're your points.

If you aren't sure of one specific answer, you could just split them up among the answers that you like the best.  While you drifted away from the defend/retreat options, they're still quite valid, considering the wide-open nature of the question.  
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