9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[stab] /stæb/
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.
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 forms
restab, verb, restabbed, restabbing.
unstabbed, adjective
1. spear, penetrate, pin, transfix. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stabbed
  • She recently found the monkey in the town centre after someone had stabbed it.
  • They stumbled on the spear-stabbed and mangled body at the end of a line of snares set by antelope poachers.
  • If a samurai was stabbed, he had to fall and count to ten before rising from the dead.
  • He had been stabbed and killed by an arrow made from the wood of a mistletoe plant.
  • For example, he is stabbed three times during the course of his journey by disgusting and horrible creatures.
  • The poor and humble, whom it affects to pity, may be stabbed to the heart by it.
  • There's blood, people die from explosions, gunfire and being stabbed.
  • The image of a guy in a bunny-suit getting stabbed by a silicon wafer never entered my head.
  • The horrendous scenes revealed cattle being whipped, stabbed and gouged.
  • Letting the parasite's eggs stay, then, means that more of the host eggs avoid getting stabbed.
British Dictionary definitions for stabbed


verb stabs, stabbing, stabbed
(transitive) to pierce or injure with a sharp pointed instrument
(transitive) (of a sharp pointed instrument) to pierce or wound: the knife stabbed her hand
when intr, often foll by at. to make a thrust (at); jab: he stabbed at the doorway
(transitive) to inflict with a sharp pain
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
the act or an instance of stabbing
an injury or rift made by stabbing
a sudden sensation, esp an unpleasant one: a stab of pity
(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 stabbed



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.


"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 stabbed



Soft; yielding and insubstantial: Support for Reagan is ''all very squooshy''

[1970s+; the date should probably be earlier; sqush, ''to collapse into a soft, pulpy mass,'' is found by 1884]

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 stabbed


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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