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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 ?
Not only had he been wantonly assaulted, badly battered, and arrested, but the morning papers without exception came out with lurid accounts of his drunken brawl with the proprietor of the notorious Vendome.
A third more violent Rap than ever again assaulted our ears.
When assaulted again by bullets, the men burst out in a barbaric cry of rage and pain.
The members of the favored unions were branded as traitors, and in saloons and brothels, on the streets and at work, and, in fact, everywhere, they were assaulted by the comrades they had so treacherously deserted.
SARGODHA -- Two people allegedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy in Shahpur on Friday, police said.
When a fellow Airman is sexually harassed or assaulted, it is devastating to the individual and the unit.
The following information concerns duly sworn city, university and college, county, state, and tribal law enforcement officers who were assaulted in the line of duty in 2008 and met certain other criteria.
law enforcement agencies reported that 57,546 officers were assaulted while on duty.
Results of ANOVAs revealed that, for women, being sexually assaulted was related to heavy episodic drinking and for men, sexually assaulting and being sexually assaulted were both related to heavy episodic drinking.
This past spring, a female cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs told authorities she had been assaulted outside the campus gymnasium.
Black peril, according to this logic, constituted a kind of payback: black men assaulted white women to avenge the wanton deflowering of African women by white men.