A wife who sends a vase sailing at her husband's head might be considered an assailant, or attacker. Or, they might be playing a game of dodgeball with the furniture.

Assailant comes from the Latin ad- meaning "at" and salire meaning "to leap." Leap at someone and you're an assailant — someone who attacks. You'll usually hear this word when lawyers or police are talking about attacks, because most people use its synonym attacker in casual conversation. Have you ever been attacked by ants, looking down to see your foot covered in them? Think of the word ant when you spell the word assailant to remember its ending.

Definitions of assailant

n someone who attacks

aggressor, assaulter, attacker
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an attacker who waits in a concealed position to launch a surprise attack
avenger, retaliator
someone who takes vengeance
beast, brute, savage, wildcat, wolf
a cruelly rapacious person
an assailant who uses a bludgeon
bully, hooligan, roughneck, rowdy, ruffian, tough, yob, yobbo, yobo
a cruel and brutal fellow
harasser, harrier
a persistent attacker
someone who attacks cherished ideas or traditional institutions
marauder, piranha, predator, vulture
someone who attacks in search of booty
night rider, nightrider
member of a secret mounted band in United States South after the American Civil War; committed acts of intimidation and revenge
raper, rapist
someone who forces another to have sexual intercourse
shedder, spiller
an attacker who sheds or spills blood
someone who slashes another person
someone who stabs another person
lapidator, stoner
an attacker who pelts the victim with stones (especially with intent to kill)
a swaggering tough; usually one acting as an agent of a political faction
a marauder and plunderer (originally operating in the bogs between England and Scotland)
muscle, muscleman
a bully employed as a thug or bodyguard
a young person who belongs to a British or American group that shave their heads and gather at rock concerts or engage in white supremacist demonstrations
plug-ugly, tough guy
someone who bullies weaker people
Type of:
offender, wrongdoer
a person who transgresses moral or civil law

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