Definition: Heart attack

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heart + attack. See heart. Borrowed from French attaque, derived from the verb attaquer, from Italian attaccare (to join, attach) (used in attaccare battaglia (to join battle)), from Frankish *stakka (stick).


heart attack (plural heart attacks)

  1. (cardiology) An acute myocardial infarction, sometimes fatal, caused by the sudden occurrence of coronary thrombosis, which obstructs the blood supply to the heart and leads to necrosis of heart muscle tissue.
  2. (figurative) A major fright.
    She'll have a heart attack when she sees that!


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