Definition of assault in English:


Line breaks: as|sault
Pronunciation: /əˈsɔːlt
, əˈsɒlt


[with object]


Back to top  
  • 1A physical attack: his imprisonment for an assault on the film director a sexual assault
    More example sentences
    • Less than three weeks later he was reported for a physical assault on a young boy.
    • Physical assault on women by intimate partners is recognized widely as a leading cause of injury to women in the United States.
    • Other recent violent attacks include an assault on a couple who asked two boys to switch off their mobile phones during a film.
    (physical) violence, battery, mugging, actual bodily harm, ABH; violent act, physical attack; sexual assault, sexual misconduct, molesting, sexual interference, rape; British grievous bodily harm, GBH
  • 1.1 Law An act that threatens physical harm to a person, whether or not actual harm is done: he admitted an assault and two thefts [mass noun]: he appeared in court charged with assault
    More example sentences
    • In that case the appellant had been convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by harassing his female victim.
    • The father was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but was acquitted.
    • He has previous convictions for theft, robbery and assault causing actual bodily harm.
  • 1.2A military attack or raid on an enemy position: troops began an assault on the city
    More example sentences
    • On another occasion during his 11-month tour he led three assaults on an enemy position until it finally fell.
    • He might have escaped when the boats first started the assault on the house.
    • A military assault on the country cannot be ruled out - at least in the long term.
    attack, strike, onslaught, offensive, storming, charge, drive, push, thrust, invasion, bombardment, sortie, sally, foray, incursion, raid, act of war, act of aggression, blitz, campaign
  • 1.3A strong verbal attack: an articulate assault on all forms of prejudice
    More example sentences
    • Chris then waited four seconds before resuming his verbal assault on Patrick's frayed nerves.
    • Reid nodded before continuing his verbal assault on the clerk.
    • Beginning in the fall of 2002, university administrators began a verbal assault on students and faculty supporting divestment.
  • 2A concerted attempt to do something demanding: a winter assault on Mt Everest
    More example sentences
    • After breakfast, and another sitting, I bundled up and attempted the assault on Marga Point.
    • These are hectic days for him and the Irish Chamber Orchestra is now primed for a serious assault on the competitive world of concert performances.



More example sentences
  • So I'm spending part of my time with the assaulters.
  • Police are still searching for that assaulter.
  • The incident was reported to police, and the girl received ‘compensation’ from her assaulters, as is common in Thailand.


Middle English: from Old French asaut (noun), assauter (verb), based on Latin ad- 'to' + saltare, frequentative of salire 'to leap'. Compare with assail.

More definitions of assault

Definition of assault in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little