verb (used with object), stabbed, stabbing.
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, stabbing.
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.
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.

1325–75; (v.) Middle English (Scots) stabben < ?; (noun) late Middle English, akin to or derivative of the v.; compare Scots stob stub1

restab, verb, restabbed, restabbing.
unstabbed, adjective

1. spear, penetrate, pin, transfix. Unabridged Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stab (stæb)
vb (when intr, often foll by at) , stabs, stabbing, stabbed
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.  to make a thrust (at); jab: he stabbed at the doorway
4.  (tr) to inflict with a sharp pain
5.  stab in the back
 a.  (verb) to do damage to the reputation of (a person, esp a friend) in a surreptitious way
 b.  (noun) a treacherous action or remark that causes the downfall of or injury to a person
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)
[C14: from stabbe stab wound; probably related to Middle English stob stick]

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., first attested in Scottish Eng., apparently a dial. variant of Scottish stob "to pierce, stab," of uncertain origin, perhaps a variant of stub (n.) "stake, nail." The noun meaning "wound produced by stabbing" is first attested mid-15c. Fig. use, of emotions, etc., is from 1590s. Meaning "a
try" first recorded 1895, Amer.Eng. Stab in the back "treacherous deed" is first attested 1916.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

STAB definition

A descendent of BCPL.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


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

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
She chirpily replied that the mer-cats should find a sharp rock and then stab
  the octopus till it died.
On such a day here, the surrounding peaks stab into clouds while fog droops
  into valleys below.
Much of the city is still underground, and nearly every stab of a shovel yields
  something new.
One little worm can shoot a harpoon out of its head to stab its prey.
Idioms & Phrases
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