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[uh-sawlt] /əˈsɔlt/
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.
rape1 .
verb (used with object)
to make an assault upon; attack; assail.
Origin of assault
1200-50; Middle English asaut < Old French < Medieval Latin assaltus (replacing Latin assultus), equivalent to Latin as- as- + saltus a leap (sal(īre) to leap + -tus suffix of v. action)
Related forms
assaultable, adjective
assaulter, noun
counterassault, verb (used with object), noun
nonassault, noun
unassaultable, adjective
unassaulted, adjective
Can be confused
assault, battery.
1. onset, charge; invasion, aggression. 5. See attack. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for assaulter
Historical Examples
  • Again concealing the weapon within his doublet, a sudden realisation of the necessity for speed overcame the assaulter.

    The Strong Arm Robert Barr
  • Weaponless, the assaulter had used his hands, and now with a knee upon Mexia's breast he strove to throttle him.

    Sir Mortimer Mary Johnston
  • I have friends who will find means to succour and protect you, be who will your assaulter!'

British Dictionary definitions for assaulter


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
  1. the culmination of a military attack, in which fighting takes place at close quarters
  2. (as modifier): assault troops
rape or attempted rape
verb (transitive)
to make an assault upon
to rape or attempt to rape
Derived Forms
assaulter, noun
assaultive, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French asaut, from Vulgar Latin assaltus (unattested), from assalīre (unattested) to leap upon; see assail
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
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Word Origin and History for assaulter



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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