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.
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.
attack someone physically or emotionally; "The mugger assaulted the woman"; "Nightmares assailed him regularly"
launch an attack or assault on; begin hostilities or start warfare with; "Hitler attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 and started World War II"; "Serbian forces assailed Bosnian towns all week"
attack in speech or writing; "The editors of the left-leaning paper attacked the new House Speaker"