Assail vs Innocuous - What's the difference?

assail | innocuous |

As a verb assail

is to attack violently using words or force.

As an adjective innocuous is

harmless; producing no ill effect.




(en verb)
  • To attack violently using words or force.
  • Muggers assailed them as they entered an alley.
    For the next six months or so those children will assail her in public with demands for an improper story! (from H.H. Munro's short story, "The Storyteller").




    (en adjective)
  • Harmless; producing no ill effect.
  • * 1892 , , A Footnote to History , ch. 9:
  • The shells fell for the most part innocuous ; an eyewitness saw children at play beside the flaming houses; not a soul was injured.
  • * 1910 , , The Lair of the White Worm , ch. 11:
  • Other things, too, there were, not less deadly though seemingly innocuous —dried fungi, traps intended for birds, beasts, fishes, reptiles, and insects.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=September 2 , author= , title=Wales 2-1 Montenegro , work=BBC citation , page= , passage=As the half closed Bale and Ledley both went close with good efforts, but Bellamy picked up a yellow card for an innocuous challenge that also rules the new Liverpool man out of the trip to Wembley.}}
  • Inoffensive; unprovocative; not exceptional.
  • * 1893 , , Mrs. Falchion , ch. 12:
  • Ruth Devlin announced that the song must wait, though it appeared to be innocuous and child-like in its sentiments.
  • * 1910 , , The Intrusion of Jimmy , ch. 28:
  • He sat down, and lighted a cigarette, casting about the while for an innocuous topic of conversation.


    * innoxious, nonpoisonous, nontoxic * (inoffensive) uncontroversial


    * nocuous * noxious * harmful * poisonous * toxic

    Derived terms

    * innocuity * innocuously * innocuousness