Definition of assault noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//əˈsɔːlt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//əˈsɔːlt//
    Types of crime
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  1. 1 [uncountable, countable] the crime of attacking somebody physically Both men were charged with assault. sexual assaults assault on/upon somebody A significant number of indecent assaults on women go unreported. CollocationsCrimeCommitting a crime commit a crime/​a murder/​a violent assault/​a brutal killing/​an armed robbery/​fraud be involved in terrorism/​a suspected arson attack/​people smuggling/​human trafficking engage/​participate in criminal activity/​illegal practices/​acts of mindless vandalism steal somebody’s wallet/​purse/(British English) mobile phone/(North American English) cell phone rob a bank/​a person/​a tourist break into/ (British English) burgle/ (North American English) burglarize a house/​a home/​an apartment hijack a plane/​ship/​bus smuggle drugs/​weapons/​arms/​immigrants launder drug money (through something) forge documents/​certificates/​passports take/​accept/​pay somebody/​offer (somebody) a bribe run a phishing/​an email/​an Internet scamFighting crime combat/​fight crime/​terrorism/​corruption/​drug trafficking prevent/​stop credit-card fraud/​child abuse/​software piracy deter/​stop criminals/​burglars/​thieves/​shoplifters/​vandals reduce/​tackle/​crack down on knife/​gun/​violent/​street crime; (especially British English) antisocial behaviour foil a bank raid/​a terrorist plot help/​support/​protect the victims of crimeInvestigating crime report a crime/​a theft/​a rape/​an attack/(especially British English) an incident to the police witness the crime/​attack/​murder/​incident investigate a murder/(especially North American English) a homicide/​a burglary/​a robbery/​the alleged incident conduct/​launch/​pursue an investigation (into…); (especially British English) a police/​murder inquiry investigate/​reopen a criminal/​murder case examine/​investigate/​find fingerprints at the crime scene/​the scene of crime collect/​gather forensic evidence uncover 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 See related entries: Types of crime
  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. Three people died during an assault on the mountain (= while trying to climb it).
  4. 4[countable] an act of criticizing somebody/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.
  5. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French asaut (noun), assauter (verb), based on Latin ad- ‘to’ + saltare, frequentative of salire ‘to leap’. Compare with assail.Extra examples After an all-out assault the village was captured by the enemy. Better street lighting has helped reduce the number of assaults against women. Enemy troops launched an assault on the town. He launched into a verbal assault on tabloid journalism. He reported the assault to the police. He was convicted of rape and another six counts of indecent assault. She used the article to make a sustained assault on her former political allies. The factory came under assault from soldiers in the mountains. The garrison was built to withstand assaults. They took part in a vigorous army assault course. Today these values are under assault. a series of assaults on enemy targets a two-year legal assault on alleged tax fraud air assaults by fighter planes allegations of police assault on the boy assaults committed by teenagers Sexual assaults have doubled in the past year. The paper’s assault on the president was totally unjustified.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: assault