You searched for: “assassinate”
assassinate, assail, assault, assault
assassinate (uh SAS uh nayt") (verb)
To murder (a prominent person) by the means of a surprise ambush, often for political reasons: Someone did indeed assassinate President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, in 1963.
assail (uh SAYL) (verb)
To strike with or as if with violent blows: A mugger tried to assail James on the dark street as he was walking home.
assault (uh SALT) (noun)
A violent verbal attack with criticism: Paul was heard verbally making an assault at one of his coworkers.
assault (uh SALT) (verb)
To attack with or as if with violent blows: Stacy was wanted by the police because she assaulted a man with her umbrella.
It seems to be a bit unfair that the newspapers referred to the attempted shooting of a famous man as an attempt to assassinate him. Ordinary people have to be satisfied with being subject to an assault by someone attempting to assail them.
This entry is located in the following unit: Confusing Words Clarified: Group A; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. (page 8)