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Back-formation from attrition.


attrit (third-person singular simple present attrits, present participle attritting, simple past and past participle attritted)

  1. To wear down through attrition, especially mechanical attrition
    • 1858, James Prinsep, Essays on Indian Antiquities, Historic, Numismatic, and Palæographic[1], page 111:
      [] pebbles of vast size, or blocks of stone, attrited by water to smoothness, conjoined by a cement of mud.
  2. To engage in attrition; to quit or drop out
    • 1997, Lisa Scottoline, Legal Tender[2], ISBN 0061094129, page 77:
      the relatives who had been helping slipped away as I grew older, attriting for various reasons that all amounted to the same reason.
  3. To be reduced in quantity through attrition
    • 2001, Lynne Hansen, “Language Attrition in Contexts of Japanese Bilingualism”, in Studies in Japanese Bilingualism[3], ISBN 185359489X, page 359:
      The interference theory of second language loss holds that forgetting is actually interference between the attriting language and the language replacing it.
  4. (military) To lose, or to kill troops by attrition due to sustained firepower
    • 2001, John Matsumura, Lightning Over Water: Sharpening America's Light Forces for Rapid Missions[4], ISBN 0833028456, page 124:
      The primary objective is to attrit the units sufficiently so that they cannot close with the units in contact.


attrit (plural attrits)

  1. (countable) One who voluntarily or involuntarily leaves a company; a termed employee
    • 2009, Alan Weiss, ‎Nancy MacKay, The Talent Advantage:
      Throughout the early part of the meeting, a human resources manager kept talking about “attrits," which we thought was some kind of financial product they were reducing or eliminating. It wasn't until she mentioned "minimizing severance options" that we realized she was talking about people.


  • (a terminated employee): term

Derived terms[edit]