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tr.v. as·sailed, as·sail·ing, as·sails
1. To attack violently, as with blows or military force; assault.
2. To attack verbally, as with ridicule or censure. See Synonyms at attack.
3. To trouble or beset, as with questions or doubts.
[Middle English assailen, from Old French asalir, asaill-, from Vulgar Latin *assalīre, variant of Latin assilīre, to jump on : ad-, onto; see ad- + salīre, to jump; see sel- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.