- a wound made by piercing with a knife, dagger, or other pointed weapon
- a thrust, as with a knife or dagger
- a sudden sensation of anguish or pain
Origin of stabMiddle English stabbe, probably ; from stobbe, variant, variety of stubbe, stub
transitive verbstabbed, stabbing
- to pierce or wound with or as with a knife, etc.
- to thrust or plunge (a knife, etc.) into something
- to go into in a sharp, thrusting way
- to make a thrust or piercing wound with or as with a knife
- to feel like a knife stabbing: said of pain
make a stab ator take a stab at☆ Informal
stab in the back
- to harm (someone) by treachery
- an act of betrayal
verbstabbed stabbed, stab·bing, stabs
- To pierce or wound with or as if with a pointed weapon.
- To plunge (a pointed weapon or instrument) into something.
- To make a thrusting or poking motion at or into: stabbed the air with his fingers.
- To thrust with or as if with a pointed weapon: stabbed at the food with her fork.
- To inflict a wound with or as if with a pointed weapon.
- A thrust with a pointed weapon or instrument.
- A wound inflicted with or as if with a pointed weapon.
- A sudden piercing pain.
- An attempt; a try: made a stab at the answer.
Origin of stabMiddle English stabben.
(third-person singular simple present stabs, present participle stabbing, simple past and past participle stabbed)
- To pierce or to wound (somebody) with a pointed tool or weapon, especially a knife or dagger.
- If you stab him in the heart he won't live long enough to retaliate.
- To thrust in a stabbing motion.
- to stab a dagger into a person
- (intransitive) To recklessly hit with the tip of a pointed object, such as a weapon or finger (often used with at).
- He stabbed at my face with the twig but luckily kept missing my eyes.
- (intransitive) To cause a sharp, painful sensation (often used with at).
- The snow from the blizzard was stabbing at my face as I skied down the mountain.
- (figuratively) To injure secretly or by malicious falsehood or slander.
- to stab a person's reputation
First attested in Scottish English (compare Scots stob, stobbe, stabb (“a pointed stick or stake; a thrust with a pointed weapon”)), from Middle English stabbe (“a stab”), probably a variant of Middle English stob, stub, stubbe (“pointed stick, stake, thorn, stub, stump”), from Old Norse stobbi, stubbi or Old English stybb. Cognate with Middle Dutch stobbe.