Simple Definition of assail
: to attack or criticize (someone or something) in a violent or angry way
Examples of assail in a sentence
The movie was assailed by critics.
politicians assailed by the media
Did You Know?
Assail comes from an Anglo-French verb, assaillir, which itself traces back to the Latin verb assilire ("to leap upon"). "Assilire" combines the prefix ad- ("to, toward") with the Latin verb salire, meaning "to leap." When "assail" was first used in the 13th century, it meant "to make a violent physical attack upon." By the 1500s, English speakers were using the term to mean "to attack with words or arguments."
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
Rhymes with assail
abseil, airmail, all hail, avail, bake sale, bangtail, blackmail, blacktail, bobtail, broadscale, broadtail, bucktail, bud scale, canaille, cattail, chain mail, coattail, cocktail, contrail, curtail, derail, detail, doornail, dovetail, downscale, ducktail, e-mail, entail, exhale, fan mail, fantail, female, fife rail, fire sale, fishtail, folktale, foresail, foxtail, fresh gale, full-scale, gapped scale, Glendale, gray scale, greenmail, guardrail, Hallel, handrail, hangnail, headsail, hightail, hobnail, horntail, horsetail, impale, inhale, junk mail, Longueuil, lugsail, mainsail, mare's tail, Mondale, moon snail, oxtail, pass-fail, percale, pigtail, pintail, pinwale, plate rail, pot ale, prevail, rattail, regale, resale, rescale, retail, right whale, ringtail, Sangreal, Scottsdale, sea kale, shavetail, shirttail, skysail, slop pail, small-scale, snail mail, soft hail, split rail, springtail, spritsail, square sail, staysail, strong gale, surveil, swordtail, taffrail, tag sale, telltale, third rail, thumbnail, timescale, toenail, topsail, travail, trysail, unnail, unveil, upscale, ventail, voice mail, wage scale, wagtail, wassail, whiptail, white sale, whitetail, white whale, whole gale, wholesale, yard sale
ASSAIL Defined for Kids
Definition of assail for Students
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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