a sudden, violent attack; onslaught:
an assault on tradition.
Law. an unlawful physical attack upon another; an attempt or offer to do violence to another, with or without battery, as by holding a stone or club in a threatening manner.
Military. the stage of close combat in an attack.
1 .
to make an assault upon; attack; assail.
Contemporary Examples

But the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America.
Full Text of Obama’s Speech to the UN — Update: Video Added Justin Green September 24, 2012

McLelland had been shot multiple times with an assault rifle.
It Wasn’t the Aryan Brotherhood, Apparently: Texas Woman Confesses to Role in D.A. Murders Christine Pelisek April 16, 2013

The assault, caught on tape, stunned the country and resulted in riots that brought in the National Guard.
‘Why Have I Lost Control?’: Cory Booker in ’92 on Rodney King Echoes Ferguson Cory Booker November 25, 2014

He had escaped, but two of his deputies were killed in the assault.
Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq? Ford Sypher September 1, 2014

The Hezbollah official said he was aware of the risks and what an assault on Yabrud may bring to the Bekaa Valley.
Hezbollah and Assad Plan Offensive On Jihadists In Yabrud Jamie Dettmer January 30, 2014

Historical Examples

Or, since now I was armed, why could I not boldly start an assault?
Astounding Stories of Super-Science April 1930 Various

It was more like abduction complicated with assault and battery.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

“To the assault,” she cried, and signed to them to throw hurdles into the trenches.
The Life of Joan of Arc, Vol. 1 and 2 (of 2) Anatole France

Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges.
United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches Various

By degrees the liking increased, and grew sufficiently strong to resist every assault from his enemies.
Political Women (Vol. 1 of 2) Sutherland Menzies

a violent attack, either physical or verbal
(law) an intentional or reckless act that causes another person to expect to be subjected to immediate and unlawful violence Compare battery (sense 4), assault and battery

the culmination of a military attack, in which fighting takes place at close quarters
(as modifier): assault troops

rape or attempted rape
verb (transitive)
to make an assault upon
to rape or attempt to rape

late 14c., earlier asaut (c.1200), from Old French asaut, assaut “an attack, an assault, attacking forces” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *adsaltus “attack, assault,” from ad “to” (see ad-) + Latin saltus “a leap,” from salire “to leap, spring” (see assail). In law by 1580s; historically, assault includes menacing words or actions; battery is an actual blow.

early 15c., from Middle French asauter, assauter, from Vulgar Latin *assaltare (see assault (n.)). Related: Assaulted; assaulting.

Read Also:

  • Assault and battery

    an assault with an actual touching or other violence upon another. noun (criminal law) a threat of attack to another person followed by actual attack, which need amount only to touching with hostile intent

  • Assault boat

    a portable boat used for landing troops on beaches and for crossing rivers. Historical Examples The commander would lose nothing by picking up the assault boat, and he would save a few men. Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet Harold Leland Goodwin It was close enough to the assault boat to haul it in […]

  • Assault course

    noun an obstacle course designed to give soldiers practice in negotiating hazards in making an assault

  • Assault jacket

    a protective jacketlike garment, armored so as to resist bullets, knives, etc., worn especially by police officers for defense against attack.

  • Assault rifle

    a military rifle capable of both automatic and semiautomatic fire, utilizing an intermediate-power cartridge. a nonmilitary weapon modeled on the military assault rifle, usually modified to allow only semiautomatic fire. Contemporary Examples McLelland had been shot multiple times with an assault rifle. It Wasn’t the Aryan Brotherhood, Apparently: Texas Woman Confesses to Role in D.A. […]

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