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assault Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun close fighting during the culmination of a military attack
  2. noun a threatened or attempted physical attack by someone who appears to be able to cause bodily harm if not stopped
  3. noun thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1946
  4. noun the crime of forcing a woman to submit to sexual intercourse against her will
    violation; rape; ravishment.
  5. verb attack someone physically or emotionally
    assail; attack; set on.
    • The mugger assaulted the woman
    • Nightmares assailed him regularly
  6. verb force (someone) to have sex against their will
    violate; ravish; dishonor; dishonour; outrage; rape.
    • The woman was raped on her way home at night
  7. verb attack in speech or writing
    lash out; attack; assail; snipe; round.
    • The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker
WordNet

As*sault" noun
Etymology
OE. asaut, assaut, OF. assaut, asalt, F. assaut, LL. assaltus; L. ad + saltus a leaping, a springing, salire to leap. See Assail.
Definitions
  1. A violent onset or attack with physical means, as blows, weapons, etc.; an onslaught; the rush or charge of an attacking force; onset; as, to make assault upon a man, a house, or a town.
    The Spanish general prepared to renew the assault. Prescott.
    Unshaken bears the assault Of their most dreaded foe, the strong southwest. Wordsworth.
  2. A violent onset or attack with moral weapons, as words, arguments, appeals, and the like; as, to make an assault on the prerogatives of a prince, or on the constitution of a government. Clarendon.
  3. (Law) An apparently violent attempt, or willful offer with force or violence, to do hurt to another; an attempt or offer to beat another, accompanied by a degree of violence, but without touching his person, as by lifting the fist, or a cane, in a threatening manner, or by striking at him, and missing him. If the blow aimed takes effect, it is a battery. Blackstone. Wharton.
    Practically, however, the word assault is used to include the battery. Mozley & W.
    Syn. -- Attack; invasion; incursion; descent; onset; onslaught; charge; storm.
As*sault" transitive verb
Etymology
From Assault, n.: cf. OF. assaulter, LL. assaltare.
Wordforms
imperfect & past participle Assaulted; present participle & verbal noun Assaulting
Definitions
  1. To make an assault upon, as by a sudden rush of armed men; to attack with unlawful or insulting physical violence or menaces.
    Insnared, assaulted, overcome, led bound. Milton.
  2. To attack with moral means, or with a view of producing moral effects; to attack by words, arguments, or unfriendly measures; to assail; as, to assault a reputation or an administration.
    Before the gates, the cries of babes newborn, . . . Assault his ears. Dryden.
    ✍ In the latter sense, assail is more common. Syn. -- To attack; assail; invade; encounter; storm; charge. See Attack.

Webster 1913


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