Assault, an attempt to apply force to the person of another against his will: also, the act of depriving another of his liberty. To assent, however, does not always deprive an act of violence of the character of an assault, for the combatants at a prize-fight are guilty of one. "Battery" is in popular language comprised in "assault," but is technically distinguishable, inasmuch as the former involves an actual touching of the person A common assault is punishable with a year's imprisonment. Where actual bodily harm ensues, it is punishable with penal servitude for five years; and other aggravated cases are specially provided for, and subjected to a severer code, eg. assaults with intent to commit felony, and indecent assaults on females. No mere words can ever amount to an assault.
The Scottish law is very similar to the above; a separate offence known as "battery pendente lite" was formerly recognised there. It was the offence of assaulting an adverse litigant, and was created by old statutes of 1584, and 1594, which enacted that the offender should on conviction lose his case. These statutes were repealed in the year 1826.
In the United States there are particular statutes providing for punishment of assaults on Government officials while acting in the discharge of their duties.