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

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Other Words from assault

Verb

assaulter noun

Synonyms for assault

Synonyms: Noun

rape, ravishment, sexual assault, violation

Synonyms: Verb

force, rape, ravish, violate

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cardi B was initially charged with misdemeanor assault and two counts of reckless endangerment last October. Michael Gold, New York Times, "Cardi B Indicted in Strip Club Fight in Queens," 21 June 2019 Hinton was charged with assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal damaging or endangering. Rachel Berry, Cincinnati.com, "Police: 2 assaults within a week at local Waffle Houses," 21 June 2019 Police filed a report for a past assault involving a mother and son June 12 in the 1000 block of Bolivar Point Lane. Jennifer James, Houston Chronicle, "Riding mowers reported stolen from Friendswood barn," 20 June 2019 When Vega Meza arrived at the jail to be booked for animal cruelty, he was also booked for misdemeanor assault in connection with an attack on another prisoner, Buckeye police said. Molly Hudson, azcentral, "Buckeye man arrested after woman's dog found beheaded," 17 June 2019 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blamed Iran for the assault on the two boats, which both caught on fire and were not in danger of sinking in the critical seaway for crude oil. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Fuel Tanker Attacks Revive Debate Over Saudi Arms Sales," 14 June 2019 Five Harlem teens — Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray and Raymond Santana — were arrested for the assault and rape of Trisha Meili, a woman who was running through the park at night. Time, "Fallout From "When They See Us" Hits Law Enforcement Hardest," 13 June 2019 The sentence for a second-degree assault, which is classified as a misdemeanor, can range from probation to 10 years in prison. Juliana Kim, baltimoresun.com, "Ex-Baltimore Police officer found guilty of 2nd-degree assault, misconduct for beating captured on viral video," 10 June 2019 As a result, the university found the football player was not responsible for the assault, and he was never disciplined. Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, "Colts’ Bobby Okereke accused of sexual assault at Stanford, reports say," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The victim and her three children had barricaded themselves in a bedroom, but the man forced his way in and assaulted her, according to the report. Jennifer James, Houston Chronicle, "Riding mowers reported stolen from Friendswood barn," 20 June 2019 The individual assaulted is a 55-year-old employee of Metro State and was physically harmed. Katrina Pross, Twin Cities, "Police continue to look for suspect in alleged racially motivated Metro State attack," 20 June 2019 After the initial crash, a second car drove up and the people inside that car pulled the Camaro driver out of his vehicle, assaulted him, and left him in the roadway. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al.com, "Man dead after carjacking; later run over by off-duty Birmingham officer," 19 June 2019 On October 17, 2013, Margarito Torrez-Vega, 22, assaulted his girlfriend in front of officers, walked into the house and started a fire inside the kitchen, according to court records. AZCentral.com, "Police shootings in Arizona," 19 June 2019 Ibarra, Norman and two other students were accused of assaulting a 16-year-old before a football team dinner in November 2016, according to affidavits for their arrest filed by the La Vernia Police Department. Liz Teitz, ExpressNews.com, "Quartet of former La Vernia students indicted two years after hazing scandal," 18 June 2019 Assault, Cedar Road: Just before noon June 9, an employee of Dick’s Sporting Goods, 24545 Cedar Road in Legacy Village, reported that on the previous night, a female customer had assaulted her. cleveland.com, "Man, 81, arrested at hotel after locking door, asking cleaning woman the cost of sex act: Lyndhurst police blotter," 12 June 2019 Authorities responded to a call from a man who said his live-in girlfriend had assaulted him, according to a police report. Fox News, "Florida woman squeezed boyfriend’s genitals ‘until they bled’: cops," 11 June 2019 By Authorities were investigating a report of an inmate assaulting a police officer at the Jackson County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon, according to a tweet posted by Sheriff Darryl Forté. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Inmate allegedly assaults police officer at Jackson County jail: sheriff," 4 June 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for assault

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assault

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

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More Definitions for assault

assault

noun

English Language Learners Definition of assault

 (Entry 1 of 2)

law : the crime of trying or threatening to hurt someone physically
: a violent physical attack
: a military attack

assault

verb

English Language Learners Definition of assault (Entry 2 of 2)

: to violently attack (someone or something)

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 assaultive (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

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Comments on assault

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