American English

Definition of assault noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] the crime of attacking someone physically Both men were charged with assault. sexual assaults assault on/upon somebody A significant number of physical assaults on women go unreported. Topic CollocationsCrimecommitting a crime commit a crime/a murder/a violent assault/a brutal killing/an armed robbery/fraud/perjury be involved in terrorism/a suspected arson attack/human smuggling/human trafficking engage/participate in criminal activity/illegal practices/acts of mindless vandalism steal somebody's wallet/purse/watch/cell phone rob a bank/a person/a tourist break into/burglarize a house/a home/an apartment/an office hijack a plane/ship/bus smuggle drugs/weapons/arms/people/immigrants launder (drug) money (through something) forge documents/certificates/passports take/accept/pay somebody/offer (somebody) a bribe run a phishing scam/an e-mail scam/an Internet scamfighting crime combat/fight crime/terrorism/drug trafficking/corruption prevent/stop credit-card fraud/child abuse/software piracy deter/stop criminals/burglars/thieves/shoplifters/vandals reduce/tackle/crack down on gun/violent/street/property crime foil a bank robbery/a terrorist plot help/support/protect the victims of crimeinvestigating crime report a crime/a theft/a rape/an attack/an incident to the police witness a crime/an attack/a murder/an incident investigate a murder/a homicide/a burglary/a robbery/the alleged incident conduct/launch/pursue/open an investigation (into…) investigate/reopen a criminal/murder case examine/investigate/find fingerprints at the crime scene/the scene of crime collect/gather forensic evidence/physical evidence uncover/discover new evidence/a fraud/a scam/a plot/a conspiracy/political corruption/a cache of weapons describe/identify a suspect/the culprit/the perpetrator/the assailant/the attacker question/interrogate a suspect/witness solve/crack the case ⇨ more collocations at justice
  2. 2[countable] assault (on/upon/against somebody/something) (by an army, etc.) the act of attacking a building, an area, etc. in order to take control of it synonym attack An assault on the capital was launched in the early hours of the morning.
  3. 3[countable] assault (on/upon something) the act of trying to achieve something that is difficult or dangerous The government has mounted a new assault on unemployment (= in order to reduce it). Three people died during an assault on the mountain (= while trying to climb it).
  4. 4[countable] an act of criticizing someone or something severely synonym attack The suggested closures came under assault from all parties. assault on/upon/against somebody/something The paper's assault on the president was totally unjustified.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: assault