- 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.
Origin of assail
1175–1225; Middle English asaylen < Old French asalir < Late Latin assalīre, equivalent to Latin as- as- + salīre to leap, spring
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
2. asperse, malign.
1. See attack.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for assail
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
October 3, 2012
The only group that it was okay to assail, she says, was liberals.Reagan's Party No More
September 1, 2011
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
June 23, 2011
The darts of calamity may assail her on every side, but she is invulnerable to them all.Imogen
At the turret we could assail Hahn, and replace him with Snap.
If you assail me by the brain, I may attack you at the heart!Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I.
Charles James Lever
Besides, the real intention was not to assail you, but the people here who admitted you.'Lord Kilgobbin
What temptations would not assail her,—by what flatteries would she not be beset!Sir Jasper Carew
Charles James Lever
- to attack violently; assault
- to criticize or ridicule vehemently, as in argument
- to beset or disturbhis mind was assailed by doubts
- to encounter with the intention of masteringto assail a problem; to assail a difficult mountain ridge
C13: from Old French asalir, from Vulgar Latin assalīre (unattested) to leap upon, from Latin assilīre, from salīre to leap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for assail
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper