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assault

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

Definition of assault in English:

verb

[with object]
1Make a physical attack on: he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer she was sexually assaulted as a child
More example sentences
  • He later pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and was sentenced to one day in jail.
  • He pleaded guilty to assaulting the sergeant on June 24.
  • A teaching assistant has been cleared of assaulting a teenager who bombarded his house with snowballs.
Synonyms
hit, strike, physically attack, aim blows at, slap, smack, beat, thrash, spank, thump, thwack, punch, cuff, swat, knock, rap;
pummel, pound, batter, pelt, welt;
cane, lash, whip, club, cudgel, box someone's ears
Australian/New Zealand informal quilt
literary smite
rape, sexually assault, molest, interfere with
1.1Carry out a military attack or raid on (an enemy position): they left their strong position to assault the hill
More example sentences
  • Subsequent reports indicated he probably died from friendly fire, although still while trying to heroically assault an enemy position.
  • You have to assault an enemy position but also prevent bombs from going off or files from being destroyed.
  • When the enemy attacked on 3 September, they assaulted his position with grenades.
Synonyms
attack, make an assault on, launch an attack on, assail, pounce on, set upon, launch oneself at, strike at, fall on, swoop on, rush, storm, besiege
1.2Bombard with something undesirable or unpleasant: thunder assaulted the ears
More example sentences
  • The thunder of footsteps assaulted her ears as she wrenched open the door, eyes flashing with ire.
  • The wind picked up suddenly and the familiar beat of a helicopter assaulted her ears.
  • Before I got very far, however, an unpleasant sight assaulted me.

noun

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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.
Synonyms
violent act, physical attack;
sexual assault, sexual misconduct, molesting, sexual interference, rape;
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.
Synonyms
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.

Origin

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

Derivatives

assaulter

1
noun
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.

Definition of assault in:

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