V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary
Definition: 1. to attack someone physically or emotionally, either in speech or in writing; 2. to launch a war or attack
Synonyms: malign, vilify, abuse, impugn, attack, assault, beset
Antonyms: mollify, pacify
Tips: Assail is derived from the Latin assilire, "to leap upon." When you assail someone, even verbally, you are attacking (leaping on them) literally or figuratively. The noun assailant means "attacker." For a memory trick, note how assail sounds and looks like "ass and sail." Now, imagine a donkey (ass) or someone's posterior (ass) being attacked by a sail. This will help you remember that assail can be used to describe both a physical and a verbal attack.
The young woman was assailed by an attacker on her way home from work. (assaulted, attacked)
Lisa had not seen her assailant, but she recognized his voice. (attacker) noun
The troops assailed their enemies by night, hoping to benefit from the element of surprise. (attacked)
She felt like she had been personally assailed when the critics gave her first novel terrible reviews. (maligned, attacked, vilified)
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