Synonyms & Antonyms of assail

1 to criticize harshly and usually publicly
  • the union organizers assailed the chemical company for failing to provide a safe working environment

Synonyms for assail

Words Related to assail

Phrases Synonymous with assail

Near Antonyms for assail

2 to take sudden, violent action against
  • the small birds assailed the larger one that had threatened their nest

Synonyms for assail

Words Related to assail

Phrases Synonymous with assail

Near Antonyms for assail

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About assail

How does the verb assail contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of assail are assault, attack, bombard, and storm. While all these words mean "to make an onslaught upon," assail implies attempting to break down resistance by repeated blows or shots.

assailed the enemy with artillery fire

When is it sensible to use assault instead of assail?

The words assault and assail are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, assault suggests a direct attempt to overpower by suddenness and violence of onslaught.

commandos assaulted the building from all sides

When can attack be used instead of assail?

In some situations, the words attack and assail are roughly equivalent. However, attack implies taking the initiative in a struggle.

plan to attack the town at dawn

When is bombard a more appropriate choice than assail?

The words bombard and assail can be used in similar contexts, but bombard applies to attacking with bombs or shells.

bombarded the city nightly

When could storm be used to replace assail?

The synonyms storm and assail are sometimes interchangeable, but storm implies attempting to break into a defended position.

preparing to storm the fortress

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Time Traveler for assail

Time Traveler

The first known use of assail was in the 13th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near assail




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Cite this Entry

“Assail.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on assail

Nglish: Translation of assail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assail for Arabic Speakers


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