Etymology
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assail (v.)

"attack violently," c. 1200, from Old French assalir "attack, assault, assail" (12c., Modern French assaillir), from Vulgar Latin *adsalire "to leap at," from Latin ad "to, toward" (see ad-) + salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). Figurative use, of mental states, emotions, etc., is from mid-14c.; meaning "attack with arguments, abuse, criticism, etc." is from c. 1400. Related: Assailed; assailing; assailable.

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assailant (n.)
"one who assails," 1530s, from French assailant, noun use of present participle of assailir (see assail). Earlier in same sense was assailer (c. 1400).
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unassailable (adj.)
1590s, from un- (1) "not" + assailable (see assail (v.)). Related: Unassailably.
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quip (v.)

1570s, "use quips; assail with clever, sarcastic remarks," from quip (n.). The sense of "to say or reply as a quip" is by 1950. Related: Quipped; quipping.

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bombard (v.)
1590s, "to fire heavy guns," from French bombarder, from bombarde "mortar, catapult" (see bombard (n.)). Meaning "attack with heavy ordnance" is from 1680s. Figurative sense "assail persistently" is by 1765. Related: Bombarded; bombarding.
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oppugn (v.)

"fight against, oppose, resist," early 15c., from Latin oppugnare "to fight against, attack, assail," from assimilated form of ob "toward, against" (see ob-) + pugnare "to fight" (see pugnacious). Related: Oppugned; oppugning; oppugnancy; oppugnant; oppugnation.

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insult (v.)

1560s, "triumph over in an arrogant way" (obsolete), from French insulter "to wrong; reproach; triumph arrogantly over," earlier "to leap upon" (14c.) and directly from Latin insultare "to assail, to make a sudden leap upon," which was used by the time of Cicero in sense of "to insult, scoff at, revile," frequentative of insilire "leap at or upon," from in- "on, at" (from PIE root *en "in") + salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)).

Sense of "verbally abuse, affront, assail with disrespect, offer an indignity to" is from 1610s. Related: Insulted; insulting.

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belabor (v.)
1590s, "to exert one's strength upon" (obsolete), from be- + labor (v.). But the figurative sense of "assail with words" is attested somewhat earlier (1590s); and belabored is attested from mid-15c. with a sense of "tilled, cultivated." Related: Belaboring.
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go for (v.)
1550s, "be taken or regarded as," also "be in favor of," from go (v.) + for (adv.). Meaning "attack, assail" is from 1880. Go for broke is from 1951, American English colloquial.
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circumvent (v.)
mid-15c., "to surround by hostile stratagem," from Latin circumventus, past participle of circumvenire "to get around, be around, encircle, surround," in figurative sense "to oppress, assail, cheat," from circum "around" (see circum-) + venire "to come," from a suffixed form of PIE root *gwa- "to go, come." Meaning "to go round" is from 1840. Related: Circumvented; circumventing.
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