Definition of assail verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    assail

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//əˈseɪl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈseɪl//
     
    (formal)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they assail
    BrE BrE//əˈseɪl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈseɪl//
     
    he / she / it assails
    BrE BrE//əˈseɪlz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈseɪlz//
     
    past simple assailed
    BrE BrE//əˈseɪld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈseɪld//
     
    past participle assailed
    BrE BrE//əˈseɪld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈseɪld//
     
    -ing form assailing
    BrE BrE//əˈseɪlɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈseɪlɪŋ//
     
    Committing crime, Conflict
     
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  1. 1assail somebody/something to attack somebody/something violently, either physically or with words He was assailed with fierce blows to the head. The proposal was assailed by the opposition party. (figurative) A vile smell assailed my nostrils. See related entries: Committing crime, Conflict
  2. 2[usually passive] assail somebody to disturb or upset somebody severely to be assailed by worries/doubts/fears
  3. Word Origin Middle English: from Old French asaill-, stressed stem of asalir, from medieval Latin assalire, from Latin assilire, from ad- ‘to’ + salire ‘to leap’; compare with assault.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: assail