Legal Definition and Related Resources of Assault

Meaning of Assault

Any unlawful attempt to injure another person with apparent present ability to effectuate the attempt under circumstances creating a fear of imminent peril . Motlev v state , 20 So.2d 798, 155 Fla. 545; Ladner v U.S., 358 U.S. 169. An assault is distinguishable from a battery in that an assault is merely an unlawful attempt to injure another by force , while a battery is the actual and willful touching of another person. Garratt v Dailev, 279 P.2d 1091, 46 Wash.2d 197.

Assault Alternative Definition

An unlawful offer or attempt with force or violence to do a corporal hurt to another. It may consist of any act tending to such injury, and accompanied by such circumstances as denote an intention and a present ability of personal violence. 1 Hill (N. Y.) 351. Force unlawfully directed or applied to the person of another under such circumstances as to cause a well-founded apprehension of immediate peril. Aggravated assault is one committed with the intention of committing some additional crime, or under circumstances of peculiar turpitude. Simple assault is one committed with no intention to do any other injury. Assault is generally coupled with battery, and for the excellent practical reason that they generally go together; but the assault is rather the initiation or offer to commit the act of which the battery is the consummation. An assault is included in every battery. 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 62, § 1. Mere words do not constitute an assault (59 Ind. 300), but some overt act is required (55 Hun [N. Y.] 214).

Synonyms of Assault


  • accost
  • accost bellicosely
  • adgredi
  • addriri
  • affront hos tilely
  • aggress
  • appetere
  • assail
  • assault belligerently
  • attack
  • attack physically
  • attempt violence to
  • besiege
  • deal a blow
  • harm
  • oppugn
  • set upon
  • set upon with force
  • set upon with violence
  • strike
  • thrust at

Synonyms of Assault


  • act of hostility
  • aggression
  • aggressive action
  • assail ment
  • attack
  • besiegement
  • encounter
  • impetus
  • incursion
  • incursus
  • injury
  • intrusion
  • irruption
  • offense
  • onset
  • onset with force
  • onslaught
  • oppugnatio
  • siege
  • strike
  • sudden attack
  • violation of another’s rights Associated Concepts: aggravated assault
  • assault and battery
  • assault with a deadly weapon
  • assault with intent to commit a felony
  • assault with intent to commit murder
  • assault with intent to maim
  • assault with intent to rape
  • assault with intent to rob
  • battery
  • felonious assault
  • simple assault

Related Entries of Assault in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Assault in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Assault in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Assault in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Assault in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Affront, Aggravated Assault, Battery, Consent, Extenuating Circumstances, Force, Justification.

Translate Assault from English to Spanish

Translation of Assault, with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Assault agresión and other legal terms is available here.

Translate Sexual Assault from English to Spanish

Translation of Sexual Assault , with examples. More about free online translation into Spanish of Agresión sexual and other legal terms is available here.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Assault in the Dictionary Assault in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Assault
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Assault in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Assault is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)

Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic displ
ay format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Assault (more about URIs)

Assault in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of assault.


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Assault

(You may find assault at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

late 14c., earlier asaut (c. 1200), “physical attack (on a person), sudden violent onslaught (on a place),” from Old French asaut, assaut “an attack, an assault, attacking forces” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *adsaltus “attack, assault,” from ad “to” (see ad-) + Latin saltus “a leap,” from salire “to leap, spring” (see salient (adj.)). The -l- was restored, as in fault; this term is also a noun., vault (n.1). In law by 1580s; historically, assault includes menacing words or actions coupled with present means to effect them; battery is an actual blow.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Assault

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Assault :

An intentional or reckless act that causes someone to be put in fear of immediate physical harm. Actual physical contact is not necessary to constitute an assault (for example, pointing a gun at someone is an assault), but the word is often loosely used to include both threatening acts and physical violence (See battery). Words alone cannot constitute an assault. Assault is a form of *trespass to the person and a crime as well as a tort: an ordinary (or common) assault, as described above, is a *summary offence punishable by a *fine at level 5 on the standard scale and/or up to six months’ imprisonment. Certain kinds of more serious assault are known as aggravated assaults and carry stricter penalties. Examples of these are assault with intent to resist lawful arrest (two years), assault occasioning *actual bodily harm (five years), and assault with intent to rob (life imprisonment).

See also affray; indecent assault.

Crimes: assault

Meaning of Assault in the U.S. Legal System

Definition of Assault published by the National Association for Court Management: Threat to inflict injury with an apparent ability to do so. Also, any intentional display of force that would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.

Degrees of assault are defined according to country or state laws. Laws vary by country or state.

Degrees of assault are defined according to state laws. Laws vary by state.



Meaning of Assault

In this law dictionary, the legal term assault is a kind of the Criminal law, Tort law, Criminal law class.


See Also

  • Battery
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Criminal law
  • Tort law
  • Criminal law
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