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stab

[stab] /stæb/
verb (used with object), stabbed, stabbing.
1.
to pierce or wound with or as if with a pointed weapon:
She stabbed a piece of chicken with her fork.
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, stabbing.
5.
to thrust with or as if with a knife or other pointed weapon:
to stab at an attacker.
6.
to deliver a wound, as with a pointed weapon.
noun
7.
the act of stabbing.
8.
a thrust or blow with, or as if with, a pointed weapon.
9.
an attempt; try:
Make a stab at an answer before giving up.
10.
a wound made by stabbing.
11.
a sudden, brief, and usually painful, sensation: He felt a stab of pain in his foot.
A stab of pity ran through her.
Idioms
12.
a stab in the back, an act of treachery.
13.
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
1325-1375
1325-75; (v.) Middle English (Scots) stabben < ?; (noun) late Middle English, akin to or derivative of the v.; compare Scots stob stub1
Related forms
restab, verb, restabbed, restabbing.
unstabbed, adjective
Synonyms
1. spear, penetrate, pin, transfix.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for a stab the back

stab

/stæb/
verb stabs, stabbing, stabbed
1.
(transitive) to pierce or injure with a sharp pointed instrument
2.
(transitive) (of a sharp pointed instrument) to pierce or wound: the knife stabbed her hand
3.
when intr, often foll by at. to make a thrust (at); jab: he stabbed at the doorway
4.
(transitive) 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
noun
6.
the act or an instance of stabbing
7.
an injury or rift made by stabbing
8.
a sudden sensation, esp an unpleasant one: a stab of pity
9.
(informal) an attempt (esp in the phrase make a stab at)
Derived Forms
stabber, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for a stab the back

stab

v.

late 14c., first attested in Scottish English, apparently a dialectal variant of Scottish stob "to pierce, stab," of uncertain origin, perhaps a variant of stub (n.) "stake, nail." Figurative use, of emotions, etc., is from 1590s. Related: Stabbed; stabbing.

n.

"wound produced by stabbing," mid-15c., from stab (v.). Meaning "a try" first recorded 1895, American English. Stab in the back "treacherous deed" is first attested 1916.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for a stab the back

stab

noun

A try; crack, shot, whack: Well, I'll have a stab at it (1895+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with a stab the back

stab

In addition to the idiom beginning with stab also see: make a stab at
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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