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at·tri·tion  (-trshn)
1. A rubbing away or wearing down by friction.
2. A gradual diminution in number or strength because of constant stress.
3. A gradual, natural reduction in membership or personnel, as through retirement, resignation, or death.
4. Repentance for sin motivated by fear of punishment rather than by love of God.

[Middle English attricioun, regret, breaking, from Old French attrition, abrasion, from Late Latin attrti, attrtin-, act of rubbing against, from Latin attrtus, past participle of atterere, to rub against : ad-, against; see ad- + terere, to rub; see ter-1 in Indo-European roots.]

at·trition·al adj.

attrition  /trn/  n. [U] a slow lessening in number or strength through resignation, retirement, or death: Through attrition, the police department went from 40 members to 23 members in one year. attrition

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