Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A violent physical attack, as with blows.
  • noun A strong or cutting verbal attack.
  • noun A military attack, such as one launched against a fortified area or place.
  • noun The concluding stage of an attack in which close combat occurs with the enemy.
  • noun An unlawful threat or attempt to do bodily injury to another.
  • noun The act or an instance of unlawfully threatening or attempting to injure another.
  • noun Sexual assault.
  • noun The crime of rape.
  • noun A rigorous or energetic effort to accomplish something difficult.
  • intransitive verb To make a violent assault upon; attack. synonym: attack.
  • intransitive verb To rape.
  • intransitive verb To attack verbally; criticize or denounce.
  • intransitive verb To harass or beset.
  • intransitive verb To make an assault.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To attack by physical means; fall upon with violence or with a hostile intention: as, to assault a man, a house, a town.
  • Specifically In law, to attempt or offer to do violence to another, with present ability to accomplish it. See assault, n., 2.
  • To attack with other than physical force; assail with arguments, complaints, hostile words, etc.
  • Synonyms Attack, Set upon, etc. (see assail); to storm. See attack.
  • noun An attack or violent onset with physical means; an onslaught; especially, a sudden and vigorous attack on a fortified post.
  • noun Specifically In law, an unlawful attack upon the person of another; an attempt or offer to do violence to another, coupled with present ability to effect it, but irrespective of whether the person is touched or not, as by lifting the fist or a cane in a threatening manner.
  • noun An attack with other than physical force, as by means of legislative measures, by arguments, invective, appeals, etc.: as, an assault upon the constitution of government; an assault upon one's reputation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To make an assault upon, as by a sudden rush of armed men; to attack with unlawful or insulting physical violence or menaces.
  • transitive verb To attack with moral means, or with a view of producing moral effects; to attack by words, arguments, or unfriendly measures; to assail.
  • noun A violent onset or attack with physical means, as blows, weapons, etc.; an onslaught; the rush or charge of an attacking force; onset.
  • noun A violent onset or attack with moral weapons, as words, arguments, appeals, and the like.
  • noun (Law) An apparently violent attempt, or willful offer with force or violence, to do hurt to another; an attempt or offer to beat another, accompanied by a degree of violence, but without touching his person, as by lifting the fist, or a cane, in a threatening manner, or by striking at him, and missing him. If the blow aimed takes effect, it is a battery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A violent onset or attack with physical means, as blows, weapons, etc.; an onslaught; the rush or charge of an attacking force; onset; as, to make assault upon a man, a house, or a town.
  • noun A violent onset or attack with moral weapons, as words, arguments, appeals, and the like; as, to make an assault on the prerogatives of a prince, or on the constitution of a government.
  • noun criminal, law An attempt to commit battery: a violent attempt, or willful effort with force or violence, to do hurt to another, but without necessarily touching his person, as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner, or by striking at him and missing him.
  • noun singular only, law The crime whose action is such an attempt.
  • noun An act that causes someone to apprehend imminent bodily harm.
  • noun singular only, law The tort whose action is such an act.
  • noun fencing A non-competitive combat between two fencers.
  • verb To attack, threaten or harass.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a threatened or attempted physical attack by someone who appears to be able to cause bodily harm if not stopped
  • verb force (someone) to have sex against their will
  • noun thoroughbred that won the triple crown in 1946
  • verb attack someone physically or emotionally
  • verb attack in speech or writing
  • noun close fighting during the culmination of a military attack
  • noun the crime of forcing a woman to submit to sexual intercourse against her will

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English assaut, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *assaltus, variant of Latin assultus, from past participle of assilīre, to jump on; see assail.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French noun asault, from the verb asaillir, from Latin assiliō, from ad ("towards") + saliō ("to jump"). See also assail.

Examples

  • This renewel of the Palin assault is not for entertainment.

    Fey likely to revive Palin impersonation

  • The term assault weapons was coined to deliberately invoke assault rifles.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Cato brief in McDonald v. Chicago

  • Despite being impressed with City's performances this year - they beat Tottenham 5-1 at White Hart Lane in August - van der Vaart does think the wheels could come off their title assault due to the big egos in the City dressing room.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • The group decries the name "assault weapon" and refers to high-powered guns as "modern sporting rifles."

    chron.com Chronicle

  • Secondly, the term assault rifle is a lable made up by the gun ban crowd and intended to make people think that semi-automatic rifles are just as dangerous as fully automatic military weapons and to confuse the two making it seem unreasonable that civilians should own them when actually they operate in the same manner as semi automatic shotguns and hunting rifles that Americans have owned since their invention over a hundred years ago.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • The group decries the name "assault weapon" and refers to high-powered guns as "modern sporting rifles."

    chron.com Chronicle

  • Just so you know, the term assault weapon or assault rifle is a legal term used to describe a variety of semi-automatic firearms that have certain features generally associated with military assault rifles.

    The Daily News - News

  • Just so you know, the term assault weapon or assault rifle is a legal term used to describe a variety of semi-automatic firearms that have certain features generally associated with military assault rifles.

    The Daily News - News

  • Just so you know, the term assault weapon or assault rifle is a legal term used to describe a variety of semi-automatic firearms that have certain features generally associated with military assault rifles.

    The Daily News - News

  • In only his second full season of Supersport racing, Herfoss had a near-perfect start to his title assault with a close third in the opening race, backed up with a dominant win in race two.

    Roadracingworld.com

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