assail

[uh-seyl]
verb (used with object)
1.
to attack vigorously or violently; assault.
2.
to attack with arguments, criticism, ridicule, abuse, etc.: to assail one's opponent with slander.
3.
to undertake with the purpose of mastering: He assailed his studies with new determination.
4.
to impinge upon; make an impact on; beset: His mind was assailed by conflicting arguments. The light assailed their eyes.

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English asaylen < Old French asalir < Late Latin assalīre, equivalent to Latin as- as- + salīre to leap, spring

assailable, adjective
assailableness, noun
assailer, noun
assailment, noun
unassailed, adjective
unassailing, adjective


1. See attack. 2. asperse, malign.
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World English Dictionary
assail (əˈseɪl)
 
vb
1.  to attack violently; assault
2.  to criticize or ridicule vehemently, as in argument
3.  to beset or disturb: his mind was assailed by doubts
4.  to encounter with the intention of mastering: to assail a problem; to assail a difficult mountain ridge
 
[C13: from Old French asalir, from Vulgar Latin assalīre (unattested) to leap upon, from Latin assilīre, from salīre to leap]
 
as'sailable
 
adj
 
as'sailer
 
n
 
as'sailment
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

assail
early 13c., from O.Fr. assailir (12c.), from V.L. *adsalire "to leap at," from L. ad- "at" + salire "to leap" (see salient).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The director leaves no doubt about his feelings for those who assail his movies
  or his actions.
But the depth and breadth of his experience give him an authority that is hard
  to assail.
Some critics were quick to assail the new policy as inadequate.
Violent coughing fits assail old and young.
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