assailant

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
  1. noun
    someone who attacks
    synonyms: aggressor, assaulter, attacker
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    types:
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    ambusher
    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
    bludgeoner
    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
    iconoclast
    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
    slasher
    someone who slashes another person
    stabber
    someone who stabs another person
    lapidator, stoner
    an attacker who pelts the victim with stones (especially with intent to kill)
    bullyboy
    a swaggering tough; usually one acting as an agent of a political faction
    moss-trooper
    a marauder and plunderer (originally operating in the bogs between England and Scotland)
    muscle, muscleman
    a bully employed as a thug or bodyguard
    skinhead
    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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