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a. A violent physical attack, as with blows.
b. A strong or cutting verbal attack.
a. A military attack, such as one launched against a fortified area or place.
b. The concluding stage of an attack in which close combat occurs with the enemy.
3. Law
a. An unlawful threat or attempt to do bodily injury to another.
b. The act or an instance of unlawfully threatening or attempting to injure another.
a. Sexual assault.
b. The crime of rape.
5. A rigorous or energetic effort to accomplish something difficult: an assault on the mountain's summit; an assault on poverty.
v. as·sault·ed, as·sault·ing, as·saults
1. To make a violent assault upon; attack. See Synonyms at attack.
2. To rape.
3. To attack verbally; criticize or denounce.
4. To harass or beset: assaulted by advertisements.
To make an assault.

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

as·sault′er n.
References in classic literature ?
Towards Spring, we were frequently harassed by Indians; and, in May, 1782, a party assaulted Ashton's station, killed one man, and took a Negro prisoner.
The Yanguesans, seeing themselves assaulted by only two men while they were so many, betook themselves to their stakes, and driving the two into the middle they began to lay on with great zeal and energy; in fact, at the second blow they brought Sancho to the ground, and Don Quixote fared the same way, all his skill and high mettle availing him nothing, and fate willed it that he should fall at the feet of Rocinante, who had not yet risen; whereby it may be seen how furiously stakes can pound in angry boorish hands.
de Treville nor the Musketeers to complain, but, on the contrary, for him, whose people the Musketeers had assaulted and whose hotel they had endeavored to burn.
After this crossing the youth assured himself that at any moment they might be suddenly and fearfully assaulted from the caves of the lowering woods.
As for Porthos, he assaulted the foe with such violence that, although his sword was thrust aside, the enemy was thrown off his horse and fell about ten steps from it.
And with his keen sword Endicott assaulted the hallowed Maypole.
In the course of it, New England suffered much injury from the French and Indians, who often came through the woods from Canada and assaulted the frontier towns.
I have required your assistance, my friends,” he cried, in a low voice, “in order to arrest Nathaniel Bumppo, commonly called the Leather-Stocking He has assaulted a magistrate, and resisted the execution of a search-war rant, by threatening the life of a constable with his rifle.
A third more violent Rap than ever again assaulted our ears.
Again, he assaulted a man of rubicund visage, and told him that few bosom serpents had more of the devil in them than those that breed in the vats of a distillery.
It would have taken a century, he repeatedly said to himself, and said also to Alice Staverton, it would have taken a longer absence and a more averted mind than those even of which he had been guilty, to pile up the differences, the newnesses, the queernesses, above all the bignesses, for the better or the worse, that at present assaulted his vision wherever he looked.
I had no doubt that the gang of roughs who assaulted me had carried off both my hat and the bird.