assail

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.

Definitions of assail
  1. verb
    attack someone physically or emotionally
    “Nightmares assailed him regularly”
    synonyms: assault, attack, set on
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    types:
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    bait
    attack with dogs or set dogs upon
    set, sic
    urge to attack someone
    bulldog
    attack viciously and ferociously
    rush
    attack suddenly
    blindside
    attack or hit on or from the side where the attacked person's view is obstructed
    savage
    attack brutally and fiercely
    reassail
    assail again
    jump
    make a sudden physical attack on
    beset, set upon
    assail or attack on all sides: "The zebra was beset by leopards"
    desecrate, outrage, profane, violate
    violate the sacred character of a place or language
    molest
    harass or assault sexually; make indecent advances to
    bear down, charge
    to make a rush at or sudden attack upon, as in battle
    gang-rape
    rape (someone) successively with several attackers
  2. verb
    attack in speech or writing
    synonyms: assault, attack, lash out, round, snipe
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    types:
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    abuse, blackguard, clapperclaw, shout
    use foul or abusive language towards
    claw
    attack as if with claws
    vitriol
    subject to bitter verbal abuse
    rip
    criticize or abuse strongly and violently
    whang
    attack forcefully
    barrage, bombard
    address with continuously or persistently, as if with a barrage
    blister, scald, whip
    subject to harsh criticism
    rubbish
    attack strongly
    slang
    abuse with coarse language
    rail, revile, vilify, vituperate
    spread negative information about
    curse
    heap obscenities upon
    type of:
    criticise, criticize, knock, pick apart
    find fault with; express criticism of; point out real or perceived flaws
  3. verb
    launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with
    “Serbian forces assailed Bosnian towns all week”
    synonyms: attack
    aggress, attack
    take the initiative and go on the offensive
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    Antonyms:
    defend
    be on the defensive; act against an attack
    types:
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    submarine
    attack by submarine
    pelt, pepper
    attack and bombard with or as if with missiles
    hit, strike
    make a strategic, offensive, assault against an enemy, opponent, or a target
    counterattack, counterstrike
    make a counterattack
    gas
    attack with gas; subject to gas fumes
    storm, surprise
    attack by storm; attack suddenly
    blitz
    attack suddenly and without warning
    invade, occupy
    march aggressively into another's territory by military force for the purposes of conquest and occupation
    beleaguer, besiege, circumvent, hem in, surround
    surround so as to force to give up
    bomb, bombard
    throw bombs at or attack with bombs
    strafe
    attack with machine guns or cannon fire from a low-flying plane
    cannonade
    attack with cannons or artillery
    torpedo
    attack or hit with torpedoes
    bust, raid
    search without warning, make a sudden surprise attack on
    slice
    hit a ball so that it causes a backspin
    chop
    hit sharply
    stroke
    strike a ball with a smooth blow
    teargas
    attack with teargas; subject to teargas fumes
    blockade, seal off
    impose a blockade on
    ebb
    hem in fish with stakes and nets so as to prevent them from going back into the sea with the ebb
    carpet bomb
    bomb a large area systematically and extensively
    bomb out
    make somebody homeless by destroying their houses with bombs
    dive-bomb
    bomb from a diving airplane
    glide-bomb
    bomb by gliding
    skip-bomb
    attack with delayed release bombs
    atom-bomb, nuke
    bomb with atomic weapons
    hydrogen-bomb
    attack with a hydrogen bomb
    pattern-bomb
    bomb in certain patterns
    atomise, atomize, nuke, zap
    strike at with firepower or bombs
    letter bomb
    send an explosive to
    firebomb
    attack with incendiary bombs
    blast, shell
    use explosives on
    retaliate, strike back
    make a counterattack and return like for like, especially evil for evil
    infest, overrun
    invade in great numbers
    type of:
    contend, fight, struggle
    be engaged in a fight; carry on a fight
Word Family