as·​sail·​ant ə-ˈsā-lənt How to pronounce assailant (audio)
plural assailants
: a person who attacks someone violently
an assault by an unknown assailant
She could identify the assailant and his two accomplices, and she wanted to press charges.Jennifer Baumgardner
Detectives speculated that she may have been punched on the chin, perhaps knocked unconscious by her assailant.Joseph Wambaugh

Examples of assailant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The assailants left Zeraati’s iPhone, brand-new AirPods, pricey watch, and wallet full of cash untouched. Arash Azizi, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2024 That scene, a single, three-minute take, is framed like a sacred medieval tapestry, with Oh’s assailants wielding sticks and pipes the way knights might hold spears. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 Fuld, a father of four, chased his assailant after the stabbing before succumbing to injury, Israeli Ynet News reported. Anders Hagstrom, Fox News, 3 Apr. 2024 Detectives believe the slain victim and the assailant were having an argument that escalated quickly, Aaron said. Rebekah Riess, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024 Russian media has reported that specialized police units did not arrive until more than an hour after the shooting started, and then waited more than 30 minutes before entering the building, by which point the assailants had already escaped. Shane Harris, Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2024 Deputies saw the alleged assailant leave the area in a green van, according to the department. Jaclyn Cosgrove, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2024 In the city of Blagoveshchensk, in the Amur region of Russia’s Far East, a shopping center frequented by Central Asian migrants was set on fire by unknown assailants. Francesca Ebel, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2024 The commotion alerted other neighbors in the building who came to their aid and helped to ultimately restrain the assailant, according to police and multiple news reports. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 27 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'assailant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1523, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of assailant was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near assailant

Cite this Entry

“Assailant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition


as·​sail·​ant ə-ˈsā-lənt How to pronounce assailant (audio)
: a person who commits criminal assault

More from Merriam-Webster on assailant

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