Assail



to attack vigorously or violently; assault.
to attack with arguments, criticism, ridicule, abuse, etc.:
to assail one’s opponent with slander.
to undertake with the purpose of mastering:
He assailed his studies with new determination.
to impinge upon; make an impact on; beset:
His mind was assailed by conflicting arguments. The light assailed their eyes.
Contemporary Examples

Days later, Al Gore suddenly surfaced after months of silence to assail President Obama for his failure to lead on climate change.
White House Stung By Clinton-Gore Essays Eleanor Clift June 22, 2011

The only group that it was okay to assail, she says, was liberals.
Reagan’s Party No More Eleanor Clift August 31, 2011

Politics seems to assail Carvalho, forcing him to take up former cudgels and defend his corner.
The Foodie Detective: The Pepe Carvalho Novels by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán Malcolm Forbes October 2, 2012

Historical Examples

Horror of an inconceivable monstrosity began to assail me: was I following through the dark an unheard of hideousness?
Lilith George MacDonald

If you assail me by the brain, I may attack you at the heart!
Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I. Charles James Lever

If they say that no man should be killed for an apple, they assail the morality of Catholics.
The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal Blaise Pascal

What temptations would not assail her,—by what flatteries would she not be beset!
Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever

They are severally commissioned to assail his intended victims with every variety of temptation.
Catholic World, Vol. XI, April 1870-September 1870 Various

In that way he has the advantage of any enemy who may assail them.
The Plant Hunters Mayne Reid

Three assailants crept toward him, and his position was such that two at least could assail him front and rear.
Put Yourself in His Place Charles Reade

verb (transitive)
to attack violently; assault
to criticize or ridicule vehemently, as in argument
to beset or disturb: his mind was assailed by doubts
to encounter with the intention of mastering: to assail a problem, to assail a difficult mountain ridge
v.

c.1200, from Old French assalir “attack, assault, assail” (12c., Modern French assaillir), from Vulgar Latin *adsalire “to leap at,” from Latin ad- “at” (see ad-) + salire “to leap” (see salient (adj.)). Figurative use from mid-14c. Related: Assailed; assailing; assailable.

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