[uh-sey-luh nt]


a person who attacks.


Archaic. assailing; attacking; hostile.

Origin of assailant

From the Middle French word assaillant, dating back to 1525–35. See assail, -ant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for assailant

aggressor, mugger, enemy, invader, goon, foe, assaulter, antagonist, bushwhacker

Examples from the Web for assailant

Contemporary Examples of assailant

Historical Examples of assailant

  • The assailant must say "This hurts me more than it hurts you."

  • He could not even guess at his assailant, much less reach him.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • He did not know why she told him all that, and he could not learn from her anything about his assailant.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • She grasped the arm of her assailant and struggled with all her might, but to no purpose.

    The Film of Fear

    Arnold Fredericks

  • He parried the blow on his sabre, and with the flat of it knocked his assailant senseless.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for assailant



a person who attacks another, either physically or verballyhe was unable to recognize his assailants
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 assailant

1530s, from French assailant, noun use of present participle of assailir (see assail). Earlier in same sense was assailer (c.1400).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper