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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The police statement does not explicitly list a motive in the alleged assault. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "New Hampshire man accused of slapping teen Trump supporter on primary day," 14 Feb. 2020 Police detectives say that before the shooting, Mitchell was accused of assaulting an unidentified 50-year-old man in the bar, and Porter confronted Mitchell about the alleged assault. Connor Van Ligten, azcentral, "Friend mourns veteran shot to death in north Phoenix bar," 13 Feb. 2020 The suit said a top CBS attorney was a Duke classmate who dated Watson a year before the alleged assault and remains a friend of Fairfax and the witness. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, "Judge dismisses Lt. Gov. Fairfax’s defamation suit over CBS interviews on sexual assault claims," 12 Feb. 2020 Kowalski didn't immediately report the alleged assault to police or campus officials. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Mich. AG reviews 2015 sex assault claim against ex-MSU basketball players, officials say," 6 Feb. 2020 The woman says the alleged assault and coverup of her claims has caused her emotional distress and disrupted her educational plans. al, "Jacksonville State University repeatedly covered up sex crimes by student athletes, staffers, amended lawsuit alleges," 5 Feb. 2020 This encounter took place weeks before the alleged assault in July 2006. Shayna Jacobs, BostonGlobe.com, "Second Weinstein accuser takes the witness stand to describe alleged 2006 sexual assault," 27 Jan. 2020 Weinstein has argued that the encounters were consensual and claims as evidence emails and texts showing an ongoing, intimate relationship with one of his accusers following the alleged assault. Vanessa K. Bohns, The Conversation, "Weinstein jurors must differentiate between consent and compliance – which research shows isn’t easy," 10 Jan. 2020 Samuels was charged with second-degree assault after Dillard filed a complaint with the District Court of Montgomery County in Maryland. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Assault Charges Against 'Real Housewives of Potomac's' Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard Have Been Dismissed," 28 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Franklin, who died of multiple gunshot wounds, was assaulted during the altercation with the police, according to the family's lawsuit. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Settlement of $795,000 reached in Minneapolis police shooting of unarmed black man," 14 Feb. 2020 A day later, on June 19, 2019, the 13-year-old assaulted the boy and his mother, Beronica Ruiz, punching him and beating her unconscious, said the family's attorney, Daniel Santiago. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s rhetoric has changed the way kids are bullied in classrooms," 14 Feb. 2020 Patrick Bradley of Windham, New Hampshire, allegedly assaulted three supporters of Trump after voting in the state Democratic primary on Tuesday, according to NBC Boston. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "Antifa supporter charged with assaulting teen Trump fan," 13 Feb. 2020 A day later, on June 19, 2019, the 13-year-old assaulted the boy and his mother, Beronica Ruiz, punching him and beating her unconscious, said the family’s attorney, Daniel Santiago. Washington Post, "The president’s rhetoric has changed the way hundreds of children are harassed in American classrooms, The Post found," 13 Feb. 2020 In New York, a woman in a face mask was allegedly assaulted on a city subway recently. NBC News, "Asians worldwide share examples of coronavirus-related xenophobia on social media," 11 Feb. 2020 Assault: West Union Street Police responded to a domestic violence call at 10:35 p.m. Feb. 7 and arrested a man for assaulting his girlfriend. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Police report assault at Medina County Home: Medina Police Blotter," 10 Feb. 2020 The group last month assaulted a Kenyan military base housing United States troops, killing three Americans. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, "Killing of Terrorist Leader in Yemen Is Latest Blow to Qaeda Affiliate," 10 Feb. 2020 However, elementary school teachers were more likely to be subjected to physical abuse or even be assaulted than teachers who work at middle and high schools. Dorothy Espelage, The Conversation, "1. How common are violence and other forms of abuse against teachers?," 6 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for assault

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for assault

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assault. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for assault

assault

noun
How to pronounce assault (audio)

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.

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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