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at·tri·tion / əˈtrishən/ • n. 1. the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure: the council is trying to wear down the opposition by attrition. ∎  the gradual reduction of a workforce by employees' leaving and not being replaced rather than by their being laid off: with so few retirements since March, the year's attrition was insignificant. ∎  wearing away by friction; abrasion: the skull shows attrition of the edges of the teeth. 2. (in scholastic theology) sorrow, but not contrition, for sin. DERIVATIVES: at·tri·tion·al / -shənl/ adj.

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attrition (theol.) imperfect contrition XIV; rubbing away XV. — late L. attrītiō, -ōn-, f. attrīt-, pp. stem of atterere, f. AT- + terere rub; see TRITE, -ITION.