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An assault is a threat to inflict injury with an apparent ability to do so. Also, any intentional display of force that would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.

The severity of assaults ranges from minor threat to incidents which are nearly fatal.

In government listings of crime, the term "assault" is usually categorized as "simple assault" or "aggravated assault." Also, rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, robbery and attempted robbery are usually listed separately. A verbal assault consists of verbal threats and profane statements directed at a person.