Definition of assault in English:

assault

Pronunciation /əˈsɔːlt//əˈsɒlt/

verb

[with object]
  • 1Make a physical attack on.

    ‘he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer’
    ‘she was sexually assaulted as a child’
    • ‘One of the allegations was that an educator was still using corporal punishment and had recently assaulted learners by slapping and punching them.’
    • ‘Apparently, on Sunday, August 18, he assaulted his wife, beating her up pretty badly.’
    • ‘Groups of teenagers slap or otherwise assault unsuspecting members of the public and record the incident on their camera phones.’
    • ‘He also assaulted a woman by slapping her when she refused to give him money.’
    • ‘Police were today hunting two men after a man was viciously assaulted and knocked unconscious outside a nightspot.’
    • ‘Several activists were even assaulted by delegates who punched and kicked them before the Secret Service arrested them.’
    • ‘The men assaulted the guards, knocking the male to the floor and kicking and punching him while pointing a gun at him.’
    • ‘He pleaded guilty to assaulting the sergeant on June 24.’
    • ‘In August last year staff were threatened by gunmen and customers made to lie on the floor by four men who stole thousands of pounds and assaulted one worker.’
    • ‘But his character towards her quickly changed as he began regularly assaulting her, including punching her in the stomach causing her to lose their baby.’
    • ‘In the parking lot of the center, Alice was assaulted, knocked down, and her purse was stolen.’
    • ‘Police today retraced the steps of a vicious gang who assaulted two guards before raiding a security van for thousands of pounds of cash.’
    • ‘A teaching assistant has been cleared of assaulting a teenager who bombarded his house with snowballs.’
    • ‘The claimant was a police officer who alleged that a fellow police officer sexually assaulted her while they were both off duty.’
    • ‘The Executive is considering introducing legislation to make it an offence to obstruct or assault any emergency worker carrying out his or her job.’
    • ‘He later pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and was sentenced to one day in jail.’
    • ‘As a teenager, he faced his first court judgement after assaulting the local parish priest.’
    • ‘Militants assaulted business managers and extorted money they claimed was compensation for unfair dismissals.’
    • ‘The gang assaulted the couple with clubs, pliers and a torch.’
    • ‘When military forces are assaulting civilians, commanders often try to prevent media from telling true stories with pictures and words.’
    hit, strike, physically attack, aim blows at, slap, smack, beat, thrash, spank, thump, thwack, punch, cuff, swat, knock, rap
    rape, sexually assault, molest, interfere with
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Carry out a military attack or raid on (an enemy position)
      ‘they left their strong position to assault the hill’
      • ‘Sixty enemy combatants in fortified positions assaulted the platoon.’
      • ‘When the enemy attacked on 3 September, they assaulted his position with grenades.’
      • ‘Call me old fashioned, but I still have problems with assaulting a refugee camp with bulldozers.’
      • ‘With only a patch of trees two hundred meters away for cover, the enemy would have a difficult time assaulting this position.’
      • ‘Air raids began last Thursday and troops started the ground assault the following day.’
      • ‘The safest way to assault this position was via a barely-negotiable, very steep, thorn bush-covered slope.’
      • ‘It is also true that many players know better than to waste precious match time trying to assault a strong defensive position.’
      • ‘Freedom fighters attempt to assault the city to restore the world to its natural order.’
      • ‘I'd like to tell my teammates to hold this position while I take a few forward and assault another location, but I can't control them at all, so I move out alone.’
      • ‘His domain expands but never had he assaulted a village.’
      • ‘But as more and more rebel soldiers assault the extraction zone, the beleaguered marines prepare for a last stand.’
      • ‘He identified the location of the enemy, and determined the precise point in which to assault the enemy.’
      • ‘You have to assault an enemy position but also prevent bombs from going off or files from being destroyed.’
      • ‘Subsequent reports indicated he probably died from friendly fire, although still while trying to heroically assault an enemy position.’
      • ‘This enemy force aggressively assaulted the Australians using rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns.’
      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
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Bombard with something undesirable or unpleasant.
      ‘thunder assaulted the ears’
      • ‘A faint buzz assaulted her ears, and the hairs on the back of her neck suddenly stood up.’
      • ‘Again, they all seem as interested in assaulting our ears as they are with fighting evil.’
      • ‘The two men winced as the sound assaulted their ears.’
      • ‘The wind picked up suddenly and the familiar beat of a helicopter assaulted her ears.’
      • ‘Walk through a shopping district or a fashionable neighbourhood in Delhi and the enervating sound of a dozen generators assaults your ears.’
      • ‘I am calm, understated and quietly bemused at every swipe of toilet humour that assaults my ears.’
      • ‘Salty air assaulted her nostrils and whipped her hair into a tangle.’
      • ‘I miss a little of their dialogue as a rowdy French accordion medley assaults my ears.’
      • ‘The chorus of the surrounding forest assaulted my battered brain.’
      • ‘Her ears were assaulted with the sounds of chattering guests and tinkling glasses, practically drowning out the background music.’
      • ‘Open the door and the ears are practically assaulted with bird calls.’
      • ‘The thunder of footsteps assaulted her ears as she wrenched open the door, eyes flashing with ire.’
      • ‘A burst of noise and activity assaulted her ears as she walked in.’
      • ‘The boy tapped his laptop in time to the discordant music assaulting his ears.’
      • ‘Before I got very far, however, an unpleasant sight assaulted me.’
      • ‘The viewer's eyes and ears are assaulted for hours by sights and sounds of hitting, slapping, slugging, whipping, and torturing.’
      • ‘Does every sorority slasher flick have to assault our ears with the negligible talents of a really lousy frathouse party band?’
      • ‘The strange thing was, audiences appeared to enjoy having their eyes and ears assaulted by what they saw, and they kept on coming back for more.’
      • ‘The clanging sound of metal on metal assaulted his ears.’
      • ‘When we entered, our ears were assaulted by the hideous muzak dripping from the sound system.’

noun

  • 1A physical attack.

    ‘his imprisonment for an assault on the film director’
    ‘a sexual assault’
    • ‘Other recent violent attacks include an assault on a couple who asked two boys to switch off their mobile phones during a film.’
    • ‘Sexual assault is usually violence at the hands of someone the victim knows.’
    • ‘In 1885 corporal punishment was included in section four of the Criminal Law Amendment Act as the penalty for a sexual assault on a girl under thirteen years of age.’
    • ‘The sexual assault on two young girls highlighted in a sad and pathetic way that the town is not getting the required resources to tackle what seems to be a constant rise in violence in the area.’
    • ‘Others are controlled by threats to themselves and their families back home; and others are coerced through brutal physical and sexual assaults.’
    • ‘Though the police spared him from physical assault on realising that they had arrested the wrong person, it took him nearly one month to secure his release.’
    • ‘‘A woman was arrested for an alleged assault on a man,’ a spokesman said.’
    • ‘We received a complaint of a sexual assault on a young girl and had to respond with whatever resources were available to us.’
    • ‘Sexual assault and violence toward women were taboo subjects and under-reported.’
    • ‘Two vicious crimes, a serious sexual assault and a brutal attack, happened at almost the same time in different parts of town.’
    • ‘On every fifth day, an average teacher will be assaulted or witness an assault on staff.’
    • ‘The attack was the latest assault on the majority Shiite community.’
    • ‘Police described it as a minor physical assault on a juvenile, apparently after some provocation.’
    • ‘The arrested woman was detained in connection with an allegation of controlling prostitutes for gain and also on suspicion of a violent assault on another woman.’
    • ‘On September 21, 2001 he committed a sexual assault on an unconscious man with a weapon.’
    • ‘The 1999 incident represented the third physical assault on the courageous activist in recent years.’
    • ‘Activities such as theft can lead the offenders to worse crimes like homicide and sexual assaults.’
    • ‘Physical assault on women by intimate partners is recognized widely as a leading cause of injury to women in the United States.’
    • ‘Less than three weeks later he was reported for a physical assault on a young boy.’
    • ‘Any obstruction or physical assault on his person, while discharging his official duties, should be viewed seriously.’
    violence, physical violence, battery, mugging, actual bodily harm, abh
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law 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’
      • ‘He has previous convictions for theft, robbery and assault causing actual bodily harm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The incident is being treated as an assault causing actual bodily harm.’
      • ‘He admitted a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.’
    2. 1.2 A military attack or raid on an enemy position.
      ‘troops began an assault on the city’
      • ‘The series begins with a ferocious military assault on Israel.’
      • ‘He might have escaped when the boats first started the assault on the house.’
      • ‘I began to write a response - from the safety of my nice cosy flat - when the news came through that the military assault had begun.’
      • ‘Rockets and automatic fire stream over your head as you try and hold off the assault on your position.’
      • ‘Frontal assaults were always attempted as a last resort, but they were costly, and their failures eroded political resolve back home.’
      • ‘The men moved off in small groups towards their assault positions.’
      • ‘Excessive speed may require that the MICLIC spend more time at the assault position rather than moving quickly forward to fire.’
      • ‘A military assault on the country cannot be ruled out - at least in the long term.’
      • ‘So can we expect an military assault version of the two-wheeled wonder?’
      • ‘On another occasion during his 11-month tour he led three assaults on an enemy position until it finally fell.’
      • ‘There is nothing wrong with employing a brigade to conduct a raid or as the assault element of a major encroachment.’
      • ‘Last week hundreds of these soldiers launched an assault on their own military headquarters.’
      • ‘Owing to the fact that modem operations have an air-land character, combating enemy airborne assault and raid forces is acquiring special urgency.’
      • ‘The player will be presented with a wide array of scenarios, from VIP rescue missions to stealth incursions to full frontal assaults against hordes of enemies.’
      • ‘Troops also faked attacks before the assault to confuse enemy fighters.’
      • ‘The city fell just 21 days after the initial assaults, and military analysts describe the campaign as historic, even brilliant.’
      • ‘In response, the army launched a military assault on the facility in which the men were being held, demolishing parts of the building.’
      • ‘Least of all should we cheer-lead a military assault on an already terrified, bloody and starving country.’
      • ‘Both Indian and Pakistan forces found that an assault on well-defended positions was extremely costly.’
      • ‘As battles raged across the city centre, 15 militants mounted an assault on a police station near the airport.’
      attack, strike, onslaught, offensive, storming, charge, drive, push, thrust, invasion, bombardment, sortie, sally, foray, incursion, raid, act of war, act of aggression, blitz, campaign
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A strong verbal attack.
      ‘an articulate assault on all forms of prejudice’
      • ‘He said she launched a verbal assault against him after smelling alcohol on his breath when he returned from a lunch.’
      • ‘It follows that in cyberspace the intended victim of a verbal assault is also at least less likely to become disarmed, debilitated, and silenced.’
      • ‘After an unusually ferocious verbal assault on a member of parliament, he was pronounced insane and shipped off to an asylum in Chiswick.’
      • ‘Reid nodded before continuing his verbal assault on the clerk.’
      • ‘I was barely able to keep up with the barrage of verbal assaults coming my way.’
      • ‘Instead he stood on the step on the driver's side, half in and half out, slowly unfurled his considerable frame to its full height, and began his verbal assault.’
      • ‘The constables heap a series of verbal assaults on her, with outrageous comments about her moral behaviour and attitude, for travelling alone with men in the middle of the night.’
      • ‘Beginning in the fall of 2002, university administrators began a verbal assault on students and faculty supporting divestment.’
      • ‘It is likely that we will hear more verbal assaults around both the accuracy of poverty statistics, and the legitimacy of those who produce such research.’
      • ‘Anna hurried out, avoiding anymore air born objects and verbal assaults.’
      • ‘All others beware: this guy's verbal assault is an earful.’
      • ‘You can't even imagine what such a verbal assault can do to one's psyche.’
      • ‘The reporter is said to have returned to the press tent, dazed by the verbal assault, and determined to seek an apology from the player's management company.’
      • ‘Then he thought of his own limitations and knew he was not proof against his father's verbal assaults.’
      • ‘It used to protect listeners and viewers from the venomous verbal assaults of right wing commentators.’
      • ‘This is made evident by the fact that young Protestant girls from neighbouring schools also joined in the protest as they lanced verbal assaults at their Catholic peers.’
      • ‘She broke off her verbal assault because John had started to laugh.’
      • ‘Chris then waited four seconds before resuming his verbal assault on Patrick's frayed nerves.’
      • ‘He continued his verbal assault even as everyone tried to silence him.’
      • ‘The woman who claims to have given ‘a little lip’ to the security officer probably launched an all-out verbal assault on the man.’
      criticism, censure, denunciation, harangue, rant, polemic, diatribe, tirade, philippic
      View synonyms
  • 2A concerted attempt to do something demanding.

    ‘a winter assault on Mt Everest’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After breakfast, and another sitting, I bundled up and attempted the assault on Marga Point.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

assault

/əˈsɔːlt//əˈsɒlt/