assail

play
verb as·sail \ə-ˈsāl\

Definition of assail

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to attack violently <Critics assailed his new book.> <a politician assailed by the media> —often used figuratively <She was assailed by doubts.> <A horrible odor assailed our noses. [=we smelled a horrible odor]>

assailable

play \-ˈsā-lə-bəl\ adjective

assailant

play \-ˈsā-lənt\ noun

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 and Etymology 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

play
verb as·sail \ə-ˈsāl\

Definition of assail for Students

assailed

assailing

  1. 1 :  to attack violently or angrily with blows or words <His plan was assailed by critics.>

  2. 2 :  to be troubled or bothered by <assailed by doubts> <A horrible odor assailed my nose.>



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