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assail

[uh-seyl] /əˈseɪl/
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
1175-1225; Middle English asaylen < Old French asalir < Late Latin assalīre, equivalent to Latin as- as- + salīre to leap, spring
Related forms
assailable, adjective
assailableness, noun
assailer, noun
assailment, noun
unassailed, adjective
unassailing, adjective
Synonyms
1. See attack. 2. asperse, malign.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for assailment

assail

/əˈseɪl/
verb (transitive)
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
Derived Forms
assailable, adjective
assailer, noun
assailment, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French asalir, from Vulgar Latin assalīre (unattested) to leap upon, from Latin assilīre, from salīre to leap
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 assailment

assail

v.

c.1200, from Old French assalir "attack, assault, assail" (12c., Modern French assaillir), from Vulgar Latin *adsalire "to leap at," from Latin ad- "at" (see ad-) + salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Figurative use from mid-14c. Related: Assailed; assailing; assailable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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