- 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.
verb (used with object)
- to make an assault upon; attack; assail.
- 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 violenceCompare ,
- the culmination of a military attack, in which fighting takes place at close quarters
- (as modifier)assault troops
- rape or attempted rape
- to make an assault upon
- to rape or attempt to rape
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 ) + Latin saltus “a leap,” from salire “to leap, spring” (see ). 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 (n.)). Related: Assaulted; assaulting.