from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To attack with or as if with violent blows; assault.
- transitive v. To attack verbally, as with ridicule or censure. See Synonyms at attack.
- transitive v. To trouble; beset: was assailed by doubts.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To attack violently.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To attack with violence, or in a vehement and hostile manner; to assault; to molest
- transitive v. To encounter or meet purposely with the view of mastering, as an obstacle, difficulty, or the like.
- transitive v. To attack morally, or with a view to produce changes in the feelings, character, conduct, existing usages, institutions; to attack by words, hostile influence, etc..
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To fall upon with violence; assault; attack.
- To attack with reasoning, arguments, censure, abuse, criticism, appeals, entreaties, or anything that bears upon the mind or feelings: as, to assail an obnoxious person with jeers.
- To fall upon; bring something to bear upon or against; come in contact with: as, the ship was assailed by a severe storm.
- Synonyms Attack, Set upon, Fall upon, Assail, Assault. Attack, literally to fasten to, is the most general of these words. Set upon and fall upon have the vigor of short and familiar words, and they express a sudden, energetic attack. Assail and assault, literally to leap or spring at, are to attack vehemently and perhaps suddenly. Assault is the stronger of the two, and is especially used of attacks with personal violence, as with fists, stones, etc. All five of these words may be extended to warfare, and to contests and struggles of any kind.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. attack someone physically or emotionally
- v. attack in speech or writing
- v. launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with
Middle English assailen, from Old French asalir, asaill-, from Vulgar Latin *assalīre, variant of Latin assilīre, to jump on : ad-, onto; see ad- + salīre, to jump; see sel- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French verb asaillir, from Latin assiliō, from ad ("towards") + saliō ("to jump"). See also assault. (Wiktionary)