stab in the back, a

A betrayal of trust, an act of treachery, as in Voting against our bill at the last minute was a real stab in the back. It is also put as stab someone in the back, meaning “betray someone.” For example, Don't trust George; he's been known to stab his friends in the back. Both the noun and verb forms of this idiom, alluding to a physical attack when one's back is turned, date from the early 1900s.


Nearby words

  1. sta.,
  2. stab,
  3. stab cell,
  4. stab culture,
  5. stab drain,
  6. stab kick,
  7. stab.,
  8. stabat mater,
  9. stabbing,
  10. stabbingly

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