- The definition of assail is to physically or verbally attack someone.
- Making fun of someone in a hurtful way is an example of to assail.
- Hitting someone is an example of to assail.
- to attack physically and violently; assault
- to attack with arguments, questions, doubts, etc.
- to begin working on (a task, problem, etc.) with vigor and determination
- to have a forceful effect on: a loud noise assailed her ears
Origin: Middle English assailen ; from Old French asaillir ; from Vulgar Latin assalire, for Classical Latin assilire, to leap on ; from ad-, to plush salire, to leap: see salient
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
transitive verb as·sailed, as·sail·ing, as·sails
- To attack with or as if with violent blows; assault.
- To attack verbally, as with ridicule or censure. See Synonyms at attack.
- To trouble; beset: was assailed by doubts.
Origin: Middle English assailen, from Old French asalir, asaill-, from Vulgar Latin *assalīre, variant of Latin assilīre, to jump on : ad-, onto; see ad- + salīre, to jump; see sel- in Indo-European roots.
- as·sailˈa·ble adjective
- as·sailˌa·bilˈi·ty noun
- as·sailˈer noun
- as·sailˈment noun