As*sault" (?), n. [OE. asaut, assaut, OF. assaut, asalt, F. assaut, LL. assaltus; L. ad + saltus a leaping, a springing, salire to leap. See Assail.] 1. A violent onset or attack with physical means, as blows, weapons, etc.; an onslaught; the rush or charge of an attacking force; onset; as, to make assault upon a man, a house, or a town.

The Spanish general prepared to renew the assault.

Unshaken bears the assault
Of their most dreaded foe, the strong southwest.

2. A violent onset or attack with moral weapons, as words, arguments, appeals, and the like; as, to make an assault on the prerogatives of a prince, or on the constitution of a government. Clarendon.

3. (Law) An apparently violent attempt, or willful offer with force or violence, to do hurt to another; an attempt or offer to beat another, accompanied by a degree of violence, but without touching his person, as by lifting the fist, or a cane, in a threatening manner, or by striking at him, and missing him. If the blow aimed takes effect, it is a battery. Blackstone. Wharton.

Practically, however, the word assault is used to include the battery.
Mozley & W.

Syn. -- Attack; invasion; incursion; descent; onset; onslaught; charge; storm.

As*sault", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Assaulted; p. pr. & vb. n. Assaulting.] [From Assault, n.: cf. OF. assaulter, LL. assaltare.] 1. To make an assault upon, as by a sudden rush of armed men; to attack with unlawful or insulting physical violence or menaces.

Insnared, assaulted, overcome, led bound.

2. To attack with moral means, or with a view of producing moral effects; to attack by words, arguments, or unfriendly measures; to assail; as, to assault a reputation or an administration.

Before the gates, the cries of babes newborn, . . .
Assault his ears.

☞ In the latter sense, assail is more common.

Syn. -- To attack; assail; invade; encounter; storm; charge. See Attack.