assault

noun
as·sault | \ ə-ˈsȯlt \

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

b : rape entry 1 sense 1

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from assault

Verb

assaulter noun

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ortiz, 32, was given the maximum sentence by San Diego Superior Court Judge Runston Maino for one count of armed robbery and one of assault causing great bodily injury. Pauline Repard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Robber gets 15 years for $1.5M jewel theft, assault in University Town Center," 12 July 2018 It is felt that comedians are able to convert their rage from physical to verbal assault and that for many their comic routines are a form of acting out. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "Learning to Be Funny," 9 July 2018 Some members of America's left are continuing their ongoing assault on the women associated with the Trump administration. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway responds to Democrats' calls to abolish ICE," 3 July 2018 King was taken to jail and now faces two counts of assault for hitting his kids and two other charges for allowing them to wander away from the apartment while under his watch. charlotteobserver, "A good Samaritan saved kids from a busy street. Now the dad is facing assault charges.," 3 July 2018 Her assault left the female owner of the restaurant with an injury to her forehead as well, deputies said. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Woman bites off man’s ear in fight over Chinese food order, Michigan cops say," 29 June 2018 Last year, Josef Newgarden kicked off his assault on the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series and eventual romp to the championship with a runner-up finish at Road America. Jim Ayello, USA TODAY, "Josef Newgarden rebounds to score first career IndyCar win at Road America," 24 June 2018 Familiar feel: Newgarden kicked off his assault on the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series and eventual romp to the championship with a runner-up finish at Road America last year. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Indy cars will keep coming back to Elkhart Lake. As for Milwaukee, 'it'd be impossible.'," 24 June 2018 Last year, Josef Newgarden kicked off his assault on the rest of the Verizon IndyCar Series and eventual romp to the championship with a runner-up finish at Road America. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Josef Newgarden rebounds with win at Road America," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The sentence handed down in Multnomah County Circuit Court comes two months after 52-year-old James McClure pleaded no contest to assault. Steven Dubois, The Seattle Times, "Man gets 70 months for near-fatal stabbing at Portland park," 9 July 2018 Photo: yahya arhab/epa-efe/rex/shutters/EPA/Shutterstock Aid groups have pleaded with the coalition not to assault the city, and the U.S. has given only tepid support to its ally’s plan, in large part because of the danger to human life. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "With Much at Stake in Yemen Port, Coalition Puts Advance on Hold," 8 July 2018 Armoni Chambers, 16, was found Wednesday after activists received a tip about a Facebook video in which the girl appeared to be assaulted, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Wisconsin girl, 16, returns home after being sex trafficked into Chicago, mother says," 3 July 2018 This prompted Inskeep to climb up the tree and break in through a second-story window, attempting to assault the victim again, according to the police records. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Police: Man climbed tree to get into Northside home, beat resident," 28 June 2018 At a Wednesday-night rally in North Dakota — during which the president once again incorrectly claimed Representative Maxine Waters called for his staffers to be assaulted — Trump bragged about his wife’s and daughter’s relationships with women. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "Very Reassuring: Trump Says Ivanka and Melania ‘Love the Women’," 28 June 2018 The 28-year-old single mother struggled with the man who assaulted and stabbed her outside the Summerfest grounds. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A killer left DNA evidence behind. But Milwaukee police destroyed it.," 22 June 2018 The officers then used a K-9 named Otto to bring down Altankov, who assaulted Otto and an officer during the arrest, Peterson said. Kellen Browning, sacbee, "Homeless intruder wielding a flagpole arrested after attacking officer and K-9, Redding police say," 4 June 2018 First, DJ Fingerblast argues that none of the women are realistically attractive enough to have been assaulted by the great DJ Slizzard. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Bleak Truths of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," 31 May 2018

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.

See More

History and Etymology for assault

Noun

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

Verb

see assault entry 1

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about assault

Phrases Related to assault

assault and battery

assault course

under assault

Statistics for assault

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective
assaultively adverb
assaultiveness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on assault

What made you want to look up assault? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!