Dictionary

assail

verb as·sail \ə-ˈsāl\

: to attack or criticize (someone or something) in a violent or angry way

Full Definition of ASSAIL

transitive verb
:  to attack violently with blows or words
as·sail·able \-ˈsā-lə-bəl\ adjective
as·sail·ant \-ˈsā-lənt\ noun

Examples of ASSAIL

  1. The movie was assailed by critics.
  2. politicians assailed by the media

Origin of ASSAIL

Middle English, from Anglo-French assaillir, from Vulgar Latin *assalire, alteration of Latin assilire to leap upon, from ad- + salire to leap — more at sally
First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of ASSAIL

attack, assail, assault, bombard, storm mean to make an onslaught upon. attack implies taking the initiative in a struggle <plan to attack the town at dawn>. assail implies attempting to break down resistance by repeated blows or shots <assailed the enemy with artillery fire>. assault suggests a direct attempt to overpower by suddenness and violence of onslaught <commandos assaulted the building from all sides>. bombard applies to attacking with bombs or shells <bombarded the city nightly>. storm implies attempting to break into a defended position <preparing to storm the fortress>.
ASSAIL Defined for Kids

assail

verb as·sail \ə-ˈsāl\
as·sailedas·sail·ing

Definition of ASSAIL for Kids

1
:  to attack violently or angrily with blows or words <His plan was assailed by critics.>
2
:  to be troubled or bothered by <assailed by doubts> <A horrible odor assailed my nose.>

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