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. ommandos 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 An Israeli official said the attack was retaliation for an Iranian assault on an Israeli cargo ship last month. New York Times, "Israel’s Shadow War With Iran Moves Out to Sea," 26 Mar. 2021 The Justice Department alleged in a court filing this week that the Oath Keepers militia and the Proud Boys coordinated plans for the assault on the Capitol. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "Essential Politics: Biden’s senior appointments are almost 60% women. He’s on track for a historic milestone," 26 Mar. 2021 Alissa is charged with 10 counts of murder in the attack, with police still trying to determine a motive for the deadly assault. Fox News, "Alleged Boulder shooter is a ‘loner’ who lived in basement, relative says," 25 Mar. 2021 At least one event in high school led to a misdemeanor guilty plea for third-degree assault, but no jail time. James Freeman, WSJ, "Before the Shooting," 23 Mar. 2021 East Cleveland police arrested him on a warrant for felonious assault on Oct. 26, 2020, and booked him into jail. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "Man accused of killing Cuyahoga County Jail cellmate had been in 11 other fights prior to slaying," 19 Mar. 2021 The call for the assault was one street away from where the body of the elderly man was found. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "100-year-old man found dead at Los Angeles home shortly after nearby assault," 19 Mar. 2021 He was not supposed to have weapons after a 2018 felony conviction for assault on a family member in Anderson County, Texas, according to the indictment. The Arizona Republic, "3 indicted in Las Vegas in 2-state Thanksgiving shooting rampage," 18 Mar. 2021 In 2005, Hanley was just a rookie when a District Court judge accused him of lying as a witness to protect a veteran officer on trial for assault. BostonGlobe.com, "Providence Sergeant Hanley found guilty of assault. Is the ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ broken?," 18 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Alyssa says that in her view Austin did not assault anyone in the house, attributing the allegations to romantic jealousy. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, "How the Dream of a Porn- Content House Fell Apart," 23 Mar. 2021 In my frustration, my writing devolved into ranting lists that ran the gamut of instances of microaggressions to harassment, to assault, to my own paranoia. Jerrine Tan, Wired, "The Atlanta Shootings Made Me Stop Gaslighting Myself," 19 Mar. 2021 Lawmakers no longer assault one another in and around the Capitol. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Call Is Coming From Inside the House (and Senate)," 13 Jan. 2021 The charges against them includes failure to disperse, assault on a law enforcement officer, resist, delay, and obstruct and disorderly conduct. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "8 Seattle protesters arrested, hundreds march in Portland amid election uncertainty," 4 Nov. 2020 According to an arrest-warrant affidavit, the victim was in her home early Sept. 17, 2003, when a man broke in and tried to assault her. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Suspect in string of sexual assaults now faces charge in 2003 Arlington attack," 9 Mar. 2021 Federal law prohibits interfering with aircraft crew, physically assaulting or even threatening to physically assault aircraft crew or anyone else on an aircraft. Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Forbes, "Here’s The Fine For Punching A Delta Flight Attendant In The Face," 27 Feb. 2021 By now, for example, stories about college campus rape have firmly established that some men assault women who are too drunk to consent. Emma Brown, Washington Post, "We can’t solve the problem of violence against girls and women without also addressing violence against men and boys.," 22 Feb. 2021 Chrestman also separately faces an additional charge of threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer. John Hanna, Star Tribune, "5 linked to Kansas City metro chapter of Proud Boys arrested," 11 Feb. 2021

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

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assault. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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 assault (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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