View synonyms for stab



[ stab ]

verb (used with object)

, stabbed, stab·bing.
  1. to pierce or wound with or as if with a pointed weapon:

    She stabbed a piece of chicken with her fork.

    Synonyms: transfix, pin, penetrate, spear

  2. to thrust, plunge, or jab (a knife, pointed weapon, or the like) into something:

    He stabbed the knife into the man's chest.

  3. to penetrate sharply or painfully:

    Their misery stabbed his conscience.

  4. to make a piercing, thrusting, or pointing motion at or in:

    He stabbed me in the chest with his finger.

    The speaker stabbed the air in anger.

verb (used without object)

, stabbed, stab·bing.
  1. to thrust with or as if with a knife or other pointed weapon:

    to stab at an attacker.

  2. to deliver a wound, as with a pointed weapon.


  1. the act of stabbing.
  2. a thrust or blow with, or as if with, a pointed weapon.
  3. an attempt; try;

    Make a stab at an answer before giving up.

  4. a wound made by stabbing.
  5. a sudden, brief, and usually painful, sensation:

    He felt a stab of pain in his foot.

    A stab of pity ran through her.



abbreviation for

  1. stabilization.
  2. stabilizer.
  3. stable.


/ stæb /


  1. tr to pierce or injure with a sharp pointed instrument
  2. tr (of a sharp pointed instrument) to pierce or wound

    the knife stabbed her hand

  3. whenintr, often foll by at to make a thrust (at); jab

    he stabbed at the doorway

  4. tr to inflict with a sharp pain
  5. stab in the back
    1. verb to do damage to the reputation of (a person, esp a friend) in a surreptitious way
    2. noun a treacherous action or remark that causes the downfall of or injury to a person


  1. the act or an instance of stabbing
  2. an injury or rift made by stabbing
  3. a sudden sensation, esp an unpleasant one

    a stab of pity

  4. informal.
    an attempt (esp in the phrase make a stab at )
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Derived Forms

  • ˈstabber, noun
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Other Words From

  • re·stab verb restabbed restabbing
  • un·stabbed adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of stab1

First recorded in 1435–45 for the noun, and in 1525–35 for the verb; Middle English ( Scots ) noun stab, stabbe, stappe, of uncertain origin; compare Scots stob “needle, large needle”; verb from the noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of stab1

C14: from stabbe stab wound; probably related to Middle English stob stick
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. a stab in the back, an act of treachery.
  2. stab (someone) in the back, to do harm to (someone), especially to a friend or to a person who is unsuspecting or in a defenseless position.

More idioms and phrases containing stab

In addition to the idiom beginning with stab , also see make a stab at .
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Example Sentences

Chromecast with Google TVWith the new $50 Chromecast, Google has taken a fresh stab at organizing the hot mess of watching TV.

Gloria said he is “rooting for Measure C” but will advocate taking another stab at funding a Convention Center expansion if the initiative dies – and perhaps add a pitch to use city hotel taxes to support parks.

Even earlier stabs might have been made in private, but “when you get an answer you can’t make sense of, you don’t publish it,” noted Aephraim Steinberg, a physicist at the University of Toronto.

“Let me take a stab at rewriting this,” Besser recalled Emanuel saying as he began scribbling on a pad.

Her sister, Diana Jiménez López, on Tuesday told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview from California that Huerta had stab wounds throughout her body.

Then stab her to death and bring me back her lungs and liver as proof of your deed.

She ran, but he caught her, and began to stab her in the middle of the street.

He takes another stab at articulating what the word might mean.

This prompts Sarah Lynn to stab herself with a Confederate bayonet letter-opener, causing a geyser of blood.

Williams comes up dry on Pete Wilson, though he makes a stab at doing Pete Rose.

The Esperanza was still smothered, and a stab of pity went through Joe's heart as he saw his shipmate wallowing.

Her cries attracted her attendants, and Murray was ordered by the indignant queen to stab the young madman dead then and there.

And because Bud had a sore spot in his own heart, Bud felt a quick stab of understanding and sympathy.

Seven or eight days ago, a man having received behind the Arsenal a stab with a knife, I sewed up the wound, and cured him.

There were so many things to remind him of her—a sudden memory would catch him unawares, and stab him like a knife.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




sta.Stabat Mater