[ stab ]
/ stæb /
verb (used with object), stabbed, stab·bing.
to pierce or wound with or as if with a pointed weapon: She stabbed a piece of chicken with her fork.
to thrust, plunge, or jab (a knife, pointed weapon, or the like) into something: He stabbed the knife into the man's chest.
to penetrate sharply or painfully: Their misery stabbed his conscience.
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.
to thrust with or as if with a knife or other pointed weapon: to stab at an attacker.
to deliver a wound, as with a pointed weapon.
the act of stabbing.
a thrust or blow with, or as if with, a pointed weapon.
an attempt; try: Make a stab at an answer before giving up.
a wound made by stabbing.
a sudden, brief, and usually painful, sensation: He felt a stab of pain in his foot. A stab of pity ran through her.
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a stab in the back, an act of treachery.
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.
Origin of stab
1325–75; (v.) Middle English (Scots) stabben < ?; (noun) late Middle English, akin to or derivative of the v.; compare Scots stob stub1
Related formsre·stab, verb, re·stabbed, re·stab·bing.un·stabbed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for stab in the back
/ (stæb) /
verb stabs, stabbing or stabbed
(tr) to pierce or injure with a sharp pointed instrument
(tr) (of a sharp pointed instrument) to pierce or woundthe knife stabbed her hand
(when intr , often foll by at) to make a thrust (at); jabhe stabbed at the doorway
(tr) to inflict with a sharp pain
stab in the back
- (verb) to do damage to the reputation of (a person, esp a friend) in a surreptitious way
- (noun) a treacherous action or remark that causes the downfall of or injury to a person
the act or an instance of stabbing
an injury or rift made by stabbing
a sudden sensation, esp an unpleasant onea stab of pity
informal an attempt (esp in the phrase make a stab at)
Derived Formsstabber, noun
Word Origin for stab
C14: from stabbe stab wound; probably related to Middle English stob stick
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Idioms and Phrases with stab in the back
In addition to the idiom beginning with stab
- stab in the back, a
- make a stab at
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.