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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Francisco Gonzalez, 22, was booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing, restraining order violation and resisting arrest, police Officer Linda Matthew said. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Man surrenders in SWAT standoff at Sacramento family home," 13 July 2018 Schaler said the boyfriend would be booked into jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse. Teri Figueroa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Woman stabs alleged assailant, hides in brush with child until help comes," 13 July 2018 Laquisha Jones, 30, is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly attacking Rodolfo Rodriguez, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "California Woman Arrested After Allegedly Beating Man, 92, and Telling Him 'Go Back to Mexico'," 12 July 2018 An additional charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill was added later, according to the Statesville Record & Landmark. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "A fire crew was responding to a grass fire when an NC man shot a pistol at them, officials say," 12 July 2018 In 2011, Raselbach was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in an unrelated case, according to the district attorney’s office. Brittny Mejia, latimes.com, "Man charged with murder, attempted murder in connection with West Hollywood knife attack," 12 July 2018 Jurors instead convicted Stallings of the lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter and acquitted him of two additional counts of armed assault with intent to murder. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Appeals Court reinstates conviction of gang member in asthma manslaughter case," 11 July 2018 From his jail cell, Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, appeared via videoconference in Missoula County Justice Court on Tuesday on charges of assault on a minor and criminal endangerment, according to the Associated Press. NBC News, "'Miracle' forest baby: Montana man cries at arraignment, says he left infant because it was 'very heavy'," 10 July 2018 Emily Cho, 34, a former vice president at Korean Air and board member at Jin Air, was questioned by police on allegations of assault. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "South Korean Airlines Face Operational and Familial Headwinds," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Menomonee Falls Police department is attempting to identify a man accused of assaulting a juvenile at Goodwill, W178 N9315 Water Tower Place, at about 8:45 p.m. June 30. Adriana Ramirez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Man accused of sexually assaulting girl inside a Menomonee Falls Goodwill, police say," 13 July 2018 Police accuse 26-year-old Mario McIlwain of Rock Hill of assaulting the girl from February until May at Alexander Graham Middle School on Runnymede Lane. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Security guard sexually assaulted girl, 13, at Charlotte middle school, police say," 11 July 2018 Simmons is accused of assaulting Ibraheem Iessa, 33, during a confrontation at an apartment complex on 3030 Dunvale Road on July 5. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Wounded man charged with assault of security officer in SW Houston," 10 July 2018 Enfield police were called to Alexander’s parents’ Pearl Street home on March 17 for a domestic violence incident during which Alexander, who authorities say had been drinking, was accused of assaulting his 69-year-old mother. David Owens, courant.com, "Judge Denies Former State Rep Alexander's Effort To Avoid Prosecution In Assault Case," 5 July 2018 Recently, 16-year-old Armoni Chambers of Milwaukee was located on Chicago’s West Side after a disturbing video surfaced showing the teen being assaulted by a man. Britni Danielle, Essence.com, "Chicago Police Are Asking For Help to Find Yet Another Missing Teen Girl," 3 July 2018 Many others physically assaulted their captors, rioted, and burned their sites of detention to the ground. Scott Stern, Teen Vogue, "How Capitalism Helped to Fuel the Mass Incarceration of Women," 25 June 2018 Williams assaulted the woman at Daewon America car parts plant in LaGrange and forced her to leave at knifepoint, police told WTVM-TV in Columbus. Steve Burns, ajc, "Man accused of kidnapping woman from Georgia car parts plant, raping her," 13 July 2018 Their son served as their translator but Anderson allegedly became enraged, pushing the son and throwing food on the floor before assaulting the female owner, the outlet reported. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Woman Allegedly Bit Part of Chinese Restaurant Owner's Ear Off During Fight Over Food Order," 2 July 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.

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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

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

Verb

see assault entry 1

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Statistics for assault

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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 \

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

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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