assault

noun
as·​sault | \ ə-ˈsȯlt How to pronounce assault (audio) \

Definition of assault

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a violent physical or verbal attack
b : a military attack usually involving direct combat with enemy forces an assault on the enemy's air base
c : a concerted effort (as to reach a goal or defeat an adversary) an assault on drug trafficking
2 law
a : a threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person (as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner) that puts the person in immediate danger of or in apprehension (see apprehension sense 1) of such harm or contact — compare battery sense 1b

assault

verb
assaulted; assaulting; assaults

Definition of assault (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make an assault on : to attack violently assaulted a police officer
2 : rape sense 1 The victim was sexually assaulted.

intransitive verb

: to make an assault

Other Words from assault

Verb

assaulter noun

Synonyms for assault

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for assault

Verb

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

Examples of assault in a Sentence

Noun She was injured in a brutal assault. the body of the murdered woman also showed signs of assault Verb He was arrested for assaulting a police officer. She verbally assaulted one of her coworkers. Enemy forces assaulted the city.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meanwhile, in 2016, Major League Baseball only suspended Atlanta Braves infielder Hector Olivera for only 82 games, despite Olivera ultimately serving a prison sentence for misdemeanor assault and battery. Marc Edelman, Forbes, 1 May 2022 Russia’s assault on Ukraine has increased scrutiny on DJI over fears that Beijing’s close geopolitical partnership with Moscow might hamper the company’s efforts to prevent its products from being used by the Russian army. Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2022 Rocky was detained for assault with a deadly weapon stemming from a November 2021 shooting, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Janelle Ash, Fox News, 24 Apr. 2022 Podolyak tweeted that the Russian military was attacking the plant with heavy bombs and artillery while accumulating forces and equipment for a direct assault. David Keyton, Chicago Tribune, 24 Apr. 2022 Podolyak tweeted that the Russian military was attacking the plant with heavy bombs and artillery while accumulating forces and equipment for a direct assault. David Keyton, ajc, 24 Apr. 2022 Sawawo's people nonetheless maintained a presence in the camp for months to make sure that the tractors were not used for a fresh assault on the region, and the NGO allies alerted the press to the intrusion. Carolina Schneider Comandulli, Scientific American, 23 Apr. 2022 As Russia’s assault on Ukraine continued, Finland and Sweden took steps to join the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which for years Putin has warned them against. Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 Western military analysts say Russia’s assault increasingly is focusing on an arc of territory stretching from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, in the north, to Kherson in the south. Yuras Karmanau, Adam Schreck And Cara Anna, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Adopted in early 2021 after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the tougher rules authorize the FAA to impose fines of up to $37,000 for each violation by those who threaten or assault others on a commercial aircraft. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 21 Apr. 2022 The brazenness and brutality of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted calls for Russia to be severely penalized, lest other countries assault their weaker neighbors. Jordan Michael Smith, The New Republic, 20 Apr. 2022 Robertson's lawyers said he was invited into the Capitol by an officer, stayed for only 10 minutes and didn't assault anyone or cause any damage. ABC News, 11 Apr. 2022 The suspect did assault a family member with a weapon, the sheriff said. Dennis Rudner, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Apr. 2022 In August, the murder charge against the second adult in the case, Mason, was reduced to assault as part of a plea deal, and he was sentenced to probation, court records show. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2022 Defense attorney Mark Rollins has said Robertson was inside the Capitol for only 10 minutes and didn’t assault anybody or break anything. Michael Kunzelman, ajc, 5 Apr. 2022 Activists say police have been known to harass and assault transgender people after detaining them. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Apr. 2022 Needless to say, the outburst drew a flood of reaction on Twitter, from jokes and memes to more somber reminders from the Hollywood community that people shouldn’t assault comedians just because their material doesn’t work. William Earl, Variety, 27 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assault.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of assault

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for assault

Noun and Verb

Middle English assaut, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *assaltus, from assalire — see assail

Learn More About assault

Time Traveler for assault

Time Traveler

The first known use of assault was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near assault

assation

assault

assaultable

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Statistics for assault

Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Assault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assault. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for assault

assault

noun
as·​sault | \ ə-ˈsȯlt How to pronounce assault (audio) \

Kids Definition of assault

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a violent or sudden attack a military assault on the castle "… this is assault," Mr. Eberhardt said. "You can't choke another person."— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot
2 : an unlawful attempt or threat to harm someone

assault

verb
assaulted; assaulting

Kids Definition of assault (Entry 2 of 2)

: to violently attack Enemy forces assaulted the city.

assault

noun
as·​sault | \ ə-ˈsȯlt How to pronounce assault (audio) \

Legal Definition of assault

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the crime or tort of threatening or attempting to inflict immediate offensive physical contact or bodily harm that one has the present ability to inflict and that puts the victim in fear of such harm or contact — compare battery
2 : the crime of assault accompanied by battery specifically : sexual assault in this entry

called also assault and battery

aggravated assault
: a criminal assault accompanied by aggravating factors: as
a : a criminal assault that is committed with an intent to cause or that causes serious bodily injury especially through the use of a dangerous weapon
b : a criminal assault accompanied by the intent to commit or the commission of a felony (as rape) — compare simple assault in this entry
assault with intent
: a criminal assault committed with the intent to commit another specified crime assault with intent to rob assault with intent to kill
civil assault
: an assault considered as a tort rather than as a crime — compare criminal assault in this entry
criminal assault
: an assault considered as a crime rather than as a tort — compare civil assault in this entry

Note: An assault may be both a criminal assault and a civil assault.

felonious assault
: a criminal assault that is classified as a felony and involves the infliction of serious bodily injury by the use of a dangerous weapon
indecent assault
: intentional offensive sexual contact that does not amount to sexual intercourse or involve penetration and that is committed without consent of the victim and without the intent to commit rape
sexual assault
: sexual contact usually that is forced upon a person without consent or inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (as a doctor) in a position of trust — see also rape

Note: Sexual assault in its most serious forms (often classified as first degree sexual assault) involves nonconsensual sexual penetration. In its less serious forms it may be the equivalent of statutory rape.

simple assault
: a criminal assault that is not accompanied by any aggravating factors (as infliction of serious injury or use of a dangerous weapon) — compare aggravated assault in this entry

Note: Simple assault is usually classified as a misdemeanor.

assault

transitive verb

Legal Definition of assault (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make an assault on specifically : to subject to a sexual assault

intransitive verb

: to make an assault

Other Words from assault

assaulter noun
assaultive \ ə-​ˈsȯl-​tiv How to pronounce assault (audio) \ adjective
assaultively adverb
assaultiveness noun

History and Etymology for assault

Noun

Old French assaut, literally, attack, ultimately from Latin assultus, from assilire to leap (on), attack

More from Merriam-Webster on assault

Nglish: Translation of assault for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assault for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about assault

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