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assault n[Old French assaut, literally, attack, ultimately from Latin assultus, from assilire to leap (on), attack]
1 : the crime or tort of threatening or attempting to inflict immediate offensive physical contact or bodily harm that one has the present ability to inflict and that puts the victim in fear of such harm or contact compare battery
2 : the crime of assault accompanied by battery
: sexual assault in this entry called also assault and battery
: a criminal assault accompanied by aggravating factors: as
a : a criminal assault that is committed with an intent to cause or that causes serious bodily injury esp. through the use of a dangerous weapon
b : a criminal assault accompanied by the intent to commit or the commission of a felony (as rape) compare simple assault in this entry
assault with intent
: a criminal assault committed with the intent to commit another specified crime [assault with intent to rob] [assault with intent to kill]
: an assault considered as a tort rather than as a crime compare criminal assault in this entry
: an assault considered as a crime rather than as a tort compare civil assault in this entry NOTE: An assault may be both a criminal assault and a civil assault.
: a criminal assault that is classified as a felony and involves the infliction of serious bodily injury by the use of a dangerous weapon
: intentional offensive sexual contact that does not amount to sexual intercourse or involve penetration and that is committed without consent of the victim and without the intent to commit rape
: sexual contact usually that is forced upon a person without consent or inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (as a doctor) in a position of trust see also rape NOTE: Sexual assault in its most serious forms (often classified as first degree sexual assault) involves nonconsensual sexual penetration. In its less serious forms it may be the equivalent of statutory rape.
: a criminal assault that is not accompanied by any aggravating factors (as infliction of serious injury or use of a dangerous weapon) compare aggravated assault in this entry NOTE: Simple assault is usually classified as a misdemeanor.
vt : to make an assault on
: to subject to a sexual assault
: to make an assault
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.