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 These practices can help shield victims of assault from re-traumatization. Tom Emmer, Star Tribune, "Mental illness is an American crisis," 16 Oct. 2020 Bowers is facing two counts of aggravated assault for impeding breathing, three counts of assault, one count of unlawful imprisonment, one count of threatening or intimidation, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, according to police. Madeline Ackley, The Arizona Republic, "Man suspected of domestic violence who fled Goodyear police arrested in Surprise," 16 Oct. 2020 Deasianet Scruggs is being held in the Summit County Jail on charges of felonious assault, obstructing official business, petty theft, and possessing criminal tools. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Akron police arrest woman accused of stabbing of teen," 14 Oct. 2020 White woman accused Black bird-watcher of assault in second call, prosecutors say Remember Amy Cooper? Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "The one with the vaccines," 14 Oct. 2020 Earlier this year, Morales pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and four counts of felony vandalism. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Man who flooded Little Italy apartment building gets probation," 13 Oct. 2020 Peterson was charged with one count of assault with a semi-automatic handgun and one count of carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. NBC News, "Megan Thee Stallion: Black women are not naïve, we're all we have," 13 Oct. 2020 The deals come after Reta Mays, a former health care worker at the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center, pleaded guilty in July to seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "6 families reach tentative settlements in West Virginia VA hospital deaths," 12 Oct. 2020 Lanez, née Daystar Peterson, was charged with one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm — personal use of a firearm — and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, "Tory Lanez Charged With Felony Assault In Suspected Megan Thee Stallion Shooting," 9 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The victim told authorities the woman and her boyfriend began to assault him, too. Nisa Khan, Detroit Free Press, "Pontiac man assaulted, had four fingers cut off, police say," 26 Sep. 2020 Police received more reports that the car circled the block and attempted to assault another man, who was able to protect himself with a bicycle. oregonlive, "Two juveniles arrested after assault near downtown protests in Portland, police say," 30 July 2020 The officer caught the suspect, Bryant Jerome Collier, after a short foot chase but Collier began to assault the officer and got away, the post states. David Wilson, Arkansas Online, "Marianna police seek man accused of firing gun at officers," 15 Sep. 2020 Police arrested Alejandro Vanegas Guevara, 27, outside of a Redwood City residence on the 100 block of Wayne Court on suspicion of rape, raping an unconscious person, kidnapping with intent to rape, and assault with a deadly weapon, police said. Lauren Hernández, SFChronicle.com, "San Mateo police arrest man in brutal beating, rape of woman waiting for bus," 11 Aug. 2020 Just had this man assault me (and some friends who wish to remain anonymous) for putting up signs calling for justice for George Floyd. NBC News, "Maryland cyclist arrested in assault on teens posting racial justice flyers on trail," 6 June 2020 Police said the two men were arguing around 5:40 p.m. on the 1000 block of Chugach Way when one began to assault the other. Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage police seek injured suspect and minivan linked to Spenard shooting," 10 Sep. 2020 Peta Gay Angella Mcalmon, 45, has been charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and assault second degree. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "Woman tased, arrested after spitting, punching off-duty Mobile officer, police say," 5 Sep. 2020 There were 12 crimes against persons, breaking down into small groups to assault, general disturbances, disturbances involving a customer, menacing, one robbery and one weapons offense. Beth Mlady, cleveland, "Brook Park mayor, councilman spar over crime at hotel," 4 Sep. 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

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assault. Accessed 21 Oct. 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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Comments on assault

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