a short, swordlike weapon with a pointed blade and a handle, used for stabbing.
Also called obelisk. Printing. a mark (†) used especially for references.
verb (used with object)
to stab with or as if with a dagger.
Printing. to mark with a dagger.
look daggers at, to look at angrily, threateningly, or with hate.

1350–1400; Middle English, probably alteration of Old French dague, of obscure origin; cf. dag1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dag1 (dæɡ)
1.  short for daglock
2.  informal (NZ) rattle one's dags to hurry up
vb , dags, dagging, dagged
3.  to cut the daglock away from (a sheep)
[C18: of obscure origin]

dagger (ˈdæɡə)
1.  a short stabbing weapon with a pointed blade
2.  Also called: obelisk a character (†) used in printing to indicate a cross reference, esp to a footnote
3.  at daggers drawn in a state of open hostility
4.  look daggers to glare with hostility; scowl
5.  to mark with a dagger
6.  archaic to stab with a dagger
[C14: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., apparently from O.Fr. dague "dagger," from O.Prov. dague, of uncertain origin, perhaps from V.L. *daca "Dacian knife," from the Roman province in modern Romania. The ending is possibly the faintly pejorative -ard suffix. Attested earlier (1279) as a surname (Dagard, presumably "one who carried
a dagger").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with daggers, also see look daggers.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


short stabbing knife, ostensibly the diminutive of the sword, though in ancient and medieval times the distinction between a long dagger and a short sword was often obscure. From approximately 1300 the European dagger was consistently differentiated from the sword; in the 16th century a school of fencing developed in which a specially designed dagger with a large guard was held in the left hand and used for parrying.

Learn more about dagger with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The second stage was reached when the flint-lock rifle came on the scene and
  took the place of knife and dagger.
Your plastic knife in the plane will cut through a lot of things and when
  broken might be as sharp as a dagger.
Academics are famous for sliding the dagger in your back and then going to
  lunch with you.
They do it to soften them up, and they'll put the dagger in.
Idioms & Phrases
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