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Line breaks: as¦sail
Pronunciation: /əˈseɪl

Definition of assail in English:


[with object]
1Make a concerted or violent attack on: the Scots army assailed Edward’s army from the rear
More example sentences
  • 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.’
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
British informal have a go at
North American informal light into
1.1(Of an unpleasant feeling or physical sensation) come upon (someone) suddenly and strongly: she was assailed by doubts and regrets
More 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.
trouble, disturb, worry, plague, beset, torture, torment, rack, bedevil, nag, vex, harass, pester, dog;
be prey to, be the victim of
1.2Criticize strongly: he assailed a group of editors for their alleged excesses
More example sentences
  • 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?
criticize, censure, attack, condemn, castigate, chastise, berate, lambaste, lash, pillory, find fault with, abuse, revile, give someone a bad press
British informal slate, slag off, monster
North American informal pummel, cut up
Australian/New Zealand informal bag
dated rate
archaic slash


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.



Example sentences
  • 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.

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Pronunciation: ôrˈTHōəpē
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