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[on-slawt, awn-] /ˈɒnˌslɔt, ˈɔn-/
an onset, assault, or attack, especially a vigorous one.
Origin of onslaught
1615-25; < Dutch aanslag a striking, (earlier) attack (equivalent to aan on + slag blow, stroke; akin to slay), with assimilation to obsolete slaught slaughter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for onslaught
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Historical Examples
  • But that it was a fair fight, and that the Duke and his men had made the first onslaught.

    The Men of the Moss-Hags S. R. Crockett
  • Marcia is checked in her onslaught, and a half-misgiving comes to her.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • Was it His hand which stayed the onslaught of the beast and defeated the baser schemes of men?

    The Adventures of Kathlyn Harold MacGrath
  • The pirates saw them coming, and dared not stand their onslaught.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • To his onslaught of frantic words she maintained a stoic silence.

    The Red Debt Everett MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for onslaught


a violent attack
Word Origin
C17: from Middle Dutch aenslag, from aanon + slag a blow, related to slay
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 onslaught

1620s, anslaight, somehow from or on analogy of Dutch aanslag "attack," from Middle Dutch aenslach, from aen "on" (see on) + slach "blow," related to slaen "slay." Spelling influenced by obsolete (since c.1400) English slaught (n.) "slaughter," from Old English sleaht (see slaughter (n.)). No record of its use in 18c.; apparently revived by Scott.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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