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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Assail \As*sail"\ ([a^]s*s[=a]l"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Assailed (-s[=a]ld"); p. pr. & vb. n. Assailing.] [OE. assailen, asailen, OF. asaillir, assailler, F. assaillir; a (L. ad) + saillir to burst out, project, fr. L. salire to leap, spring; cf. L. assilire to leap or spring upon. See Sally.] 1. To attack with violence, or in a vehement and hostile manner; to assault; to molest; as, to assail a man with blows; to assail a city with artillery. [1913 Webster] No rude noise mine ears assailing. --Cowper. [1913 Webster] No storm can now assail The charm he wears within. --Keble. [1913 Webster] 2. To encounter or meet purposely with the view of mastering, as an obstacle, difficulty, or the like. [1913 Webster] The thorny wilds the woodmen fierce assail. --Pope. [1913 Webster] 3. To attack morally, or with a view to produce changes in the feelings, character, conduct, existing usages, institutions; to attack by words, hostile influence, etc.; as, to assail one with appeals, arguments, abuse, ridicule, and the like. [1913 Webster] The papal authority . . . assailed. --Hallam. [1913 Webster] They assailed him with keen invective; they assailed him with still keener irony. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster] Syn: To attack; assault; invade; encounter; fall upon. See Attack. [1913 Webster]