attrition

Attrition is a gradual process of wearing down, weakening, or destroying something.

When a company wants to reduce its payroll without firing anyone, it will sometimes do so through attrition; that is, by waiting for people to retire or quit without hiring anyone new to replace them. In a more general sense, the word means break down, wear out, or reduce in numbers. A triple overtime basketball game, with many players fouling out, is a war of attrition. When you see the word attrition, think "Gradually chipping away."

Primary Meanings of attrition

1.
n
the act of rubbing together; wearing something down by friction
2.
n
sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation
Full Definitions of attrition
1

n the act of rubbing together; wearing something down by friction

Type of:
detrition, friction, rubbing
effort expended in moving one object over another with pressure

n erosion by friction

Synonyms:
abrasion, corrasion, detrition
Type of:
eating away, eroding, erosion, wearing, wearing away
(geology) the mechanical process of wearing or grinding something down (as by particles washing over it)

n the wearing down of rock particles by friction due to water or wind or ice

Synonyms:
abrasion, detrition, grinding
Type of:
friction, rubbing
the resistance encountered when one body is moved in contact with another

n a wearing down to weaken or destroy

“a war of attrition
Type of:
decrease, drop-off, lessening
a change downward
2

n sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation

Synonyms:
contriteness, contrition
Type of:
regret, rue, ruefulness, sorrow
sadness associated with some wrong done or some disappointment

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