Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: asaillir, from Latin assilire, from ad- 'to' + salire 'to jump'

assail

verb
     
as‧sail [transitive] formal
1 [usually passive] if you are assailed by unpleasant thoughts or feelings, they worry or upset you:
Carla was suddenly assailed by doubts.
2 if a strong smell or loud sound assails you, you suddenly experience it:
The smell of rotten meat assailed her nostrils.
3 to attack someone or something violently
4 to criticize someone or something severely
assail somebody for something
He was assailed for gross misconduct.

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