Definition of assail
: 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]
assailableplay \-ˈsā-lə-bəl\ adjective
assailantplay \-ˈsā-lənt\ noun
assail was our Word of the Day on 08/23/2007. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of assail from the Web
U.S. lawmakers from both political parties criticized Trump for raising the travel ban and for assailing Khan.
The NAACP will not sit idly while our people continue to be assailed by racist and cowardly actions.
Advocates for changes to the criminal justice system assailed the reversal as a return to drug-war era policies that helped ravage minority communities and put even nonviolent drug offenders in prison for long terms.
Democrats have assailed the House bill as a tax-cut plan for the wealthy.
Clinton, who has made few public appearances since Trump defeated her in last year’s presidential election, also assailed the Republican’s new budget proposal.
Last year, after the presidential election, Facebook was assailed as a repository of fake news that influenced the way the American electorate voted.
Much like the activists who want her out of Boyle Heights, Chimento feels that economic forces have assailed her, pushed her into a corner.
The 2004 Brain Trust During the '90s, Zaha Hadid's ambitious, competition-winning designs never made it from concept to construction, and critics assailed her as a paper architect with unbuildable ideas.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assail'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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
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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