- 1Make a concerted or violent attack on: the Scots army assailed Edward’s army from the rearMore example sentences
attack, assault, make an assault on, launch an attack on, pounce on, set upon, set about, launch oneself at, weigh into, fly at, let fly at, turn on, round on, lash out at, hit out at, beset, belabour, fall on, accost, mug, charge, rush, storm, besiege• informal lay into, tear into, lace into, sail into, pitch into, get stuck into, wade into, let someone have it, beat up, jumpBritish • informal have a go atNorth American • informal light into
- They approached warily, as though the food might leap up and assail their gullets violently.
- Only then would the Assault Transports assail the station with their mere 250 Marines.
- As one historian wrote, ‘All forms of property were assailed, all signs of wealth and privilege were attacked.’
- 1.1(Of an unpleasant feeling or physical sensation) come upon (someone) suddenly and strongly: she was assailed by doubts and regretsMore example sentences
- Mixed feelings could assail you in relation to love.
- New emotions assailed her so strongly she dropped to her knees with a moan.
- He slid his arm around her and pulled her closer, closing his eyes under the feelings assailing him.
- 1.2Criticize strongly: he assailed a group of editors for their alleged excessesMore example sentences
criticize, censure, attack, condemn, castigate, chastise, berate, lambaste, lash, pillory, find fault with, abuse, revile, give someone a bad press• informal knock, slam, hammer, lay into, give someone a roasting, cane, blast, give someone hell, bite someone's head off, jump down someone's throatAustralian/New Zealand • informal bag• dated rate• archaic slash
- At a time when the Government is assailed by criticism and controversy, and when the Prime Minister's reputation is under such continuous attack, one would expect the opposition to be riding on a wave of success.
- Critics have assailed the lack of political leadership in all this.
- Why take risks, when the very name of the opera secures sold-out performances, assuming the critics don't assail it, or the conservative crowds don't shun it?
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- And taste is now a far weaker, more assailable notion than it was in the late eighteenth century.
- He looked alien, almost other worldly - and so desperately assailable.
- None had the training or experience to deal with a battlefield dominated by machine guns and artillery - a battlefield, which offered no assailable flanks as their soldiers dug in to escape the fury of mass industrial warfare.
Middle English: from Old French asaill-, stressed stem of asalir, from medieval Latin assalire, from Latin assilire, from ad- 'to' + salire 'to leap'; compare with assault.