Definition of onslaught in English:



  • 1A fierce or destructive attack.

    ‘a series of onslaughts on the citadel’
    • ‘Sabotage could range from pinprick attacks on individual weapons or machines to full-scale onslaughts on formed bodies of troops.’
    • ‘Speculative onslaughts on the pound were resisted only at the expense of deflationary domestic policies.’
    • ‘The onslaughts on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are being likened to Pearl Harbor, and the comparison is just.’
    • ‘The Russian army collapsed under this onslaught and the attack was initially incredibly successful.’
    • ‘Shell crumbled before the onslaught, and the Brent Spar was taken off to a Norwegian fjord.’
    • ‘As a result of fierce Hungarian onslaughts from the north, Bulgaria lost important territories beyond the Danube, including the rich Transylvania.’
    • ‘The trust lets you stand as a bulwark against any onslaughts on the papers' editorial freedom.’
    • ‘The U.S. onslaughts on the cities were part of its retaliatory and preemptive strikes on Afghanistan's Islamic fundamentalist regime, which started Sunday night.’
    • ‘Capture the flag; the blues struggle to hold back the onslaught of the attacking yellows.’
    • ‘Again the Elephants fought back and following a series of onslaughts on the Bulldogs' tryline the referee awarded a penalty try after Peach was obstructed.’
    • ‘From time immemorial there have been friendly migrations and unfriendly onslaughts on the Kerala society, mostly through the sea.’
    • ‘The blue bill shows how the authorities used concessions on trivial matters to conceal onslaughts on key issues.’
    • ‘Chapter 5 turns to the medieval world, which brought new onslaughts on the forest.’
    • ‘For 15 minutes they made repeated onslaughts on the Ardclough defence and looked particularly dangerous on the right wing where Timmy Comerford and David Slattery were on constant prowl.’
    • ‘Cultural and civil liberty activists ought to unite and fight to resist these onslaughts on basic fundamental freedom, he said.’
    • ‘The scores in the match came tumbling from the often-repeated sheer attacking onslaughts so frequently launched at blistering pace by both teams.’
    • ‘But the bottom line is that the foundations of secularism and equality before the law that Nehru laid have withstood the worst of onslaughts on them.’
    • ‘Against the wine Villa upped their game but had to withstand some fierce Mill onslaughts before capturing the points.’
    • ‘When the memories came flooding back she only just managed to hold back an onslaught of tears.’
    • ‘England faced a fierce onslaught from South Africa for much of the match and Woodward was impressed with what he saw.’
    assault, attack, offensive, aggression, advance, charge, onrush, rush, storming, sortie, sally, raid, descent, incursion, invasion, foray, push, thrust, drive, blitz, bombardment, barrage, salvo, storm, volley, shower, torrent, broadside
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    1. 1.1An overwhelmingly large number of people or things.
      ‘in some parks the onslaught of cars and people far exceeds capacity’
      • ‘Another area of concern for IT professionals has been the growing onslaught of spam.’
      • ‘Steady onslaughts of slick visuals and hyped-up soundtracks are routine: another day, another few hundred commercials.’
      • ‘In fact, the proliferation of viruses and the onslaught of spam have left companies and consumers staggering.’
      • ‘Yet he also believes that the relentless media onslaught of ‘perfect’ male images has contributed.’
      • ‘The reactions of Nature as a result of its exposure to the onslaughts of human societies have become more important in determining the fate of the human species than any harm it can inflict on itself.’
      abundance, mass, superabundance, plethora, profusion
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Early 17th century (also in the form anslaight): from Middle Dutch aenslag, from aen on + slag blow. The change in the ending was due to association with (now obsolete) slaught ‘slaughter’.