To assail is to attack or assault — with throwing stars, fists, words or, less tangibly but just as violently, with troubles or doubts.
Believe it or not, assail evolved from the ancient Latin word assilire, which means "to jump on." So picture an attacker jumping on you, throwing punches and maybe some insults, too. Because assail also means to ridicule or heap your worries upon someone. As novelist Charlotte Bronte noted, “Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last.” Think on that.