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 Jihadists linked to Islamic State killed more than 50 soldiers in Mali in an attack on an army base, a month after a similar assault in which more than 40 soldiers were killed. The Economist, "Politics this week," 7 Nov. 2019 Each case involved a woman, including a 17-year-old, who reported allegations of assault to Kapler. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Giants pare list of managerial candidates to Gabe Kapler, two bench coaches," 6 Nov. 2019 Another Quinhagak man, 28-year-old Frank Nelson, has been charged with five counts of felony assault in the case. Anchorage Daily News, "Quinhagak man dies of injuries suffered in October assault," 5 Nov. 2019 Padalecki has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault with injury. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "Jared Padalecki skips 'Supernatural' convention, co-star Jensen Ackles pokes fun at his arrest," 4 Nov. 2019 Records from the Travis County Clerk’s office obtained by EW show that Padalecki was charged with two counts of assault causing bodily injury and public intoxication. Rachel Yang, EW.com, "Supernatural star Jared Padalecki breaks silence for first time since arrest," 4 Nov. 2019 Hipps at the time was being held in the jail on charges of felonious assault against a police officer. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County Jail inmate sues, accuses jail officer of attacking him while he tried to pray," 4 Nov. 2019 Quevin Romero, 25, of Glen Burnie, was arrested and charged with possessing a loaded handgun in his vehicle after being located by police in the area shortly after the alleged assault Oct. 21, according to court records. Taylor Deville, baltimoresun.com, "Three arrested, one charged after armed assault in Baltimore," 29 Oct. 2019 Andrew Gargiulo, now 16 and a junior in high school, was 5 years old when his father was arrested in June 2008, two months after the assault on Murphy. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, "‘Boy Next Door Killer’ Michael Gargiulo should get the death penalty, jury decides," 18 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On the night of her murder, Billhartz accused Ted Murgatroyd, who also hung out at the house, of assaulting her. CBS News, "White supremacist gang member apologizes "from the bottom of my heart" ahead of Texas execution," 6 Nov. 2019 One guard was put on administrative leave after telling police a coworker had assaulted her. USA Today, "A security empire deployed guards with violent pasts across the U.S. Some went on to rape, assault or kill," 31 Oct. 2019 According to the statement of charges, an officer of the Westminster Police Department spoke to a woman at the police station on Sept. 14 who said Sarabia had assaulted her the day before. Catalina Righter, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Westminster man charged with assault," 29 Oct. 2019 The trio approached Goin and began assaulting him, punching him in the chest and head while attempting to take his phone, records show. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "3 arrested in shooting of security guard at an Orlando bus stop," 18 Oct. 2019 Director Stephen Brackett's frantic staging also periodically assaults us with deafening noises and bright lights shined directly in our eyes, the latter unfortunately not quite blinding enough to prevent us from seeing what's going on. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical': Theater Review," 17 Oct. 2019 Amber, who is an anonymous rape survivor in the original account, had Detective Stacy Galbraith (Karen Duvall in the series) on her case after reporting that she had been assaulted repeatedly in Golden, Colorado. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Unbelievable' Star Kaitlyn Dever Speaks Out About the Portrayal of Police in the Netflix Series," 21 Sep. 2019 The woman, Britney Taylor filed a lawsuit last week, accusing Brown of assaulting her on three different occasions in 2017 and 2018. Scooby Axson, SI.com, "Report: Antonio Brown's Accuser To Meet With NFL On Monday," 15 Sep. 2019 According to the district report, the woman alleges that Morris assaulted her in September. Dallas News, "Plano East basketball coach quit after investigation upheld claim she sexually harassed district employee," 26 Aug. 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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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

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Assault.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assaulted. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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