v. stabbed, stab·bing, stabs
1. To pierce or wound with or as if with a pointed weapon.
2. To plunge (a pointed weapon or instrument) into something.
3. To make a thrusting or poking motion at or into: stabbed the air with his fingers.
1. To thrust with or as if with a pointed weapon: stabbed at the food with her fork.
2. To inflict a wound with or as if with a pointed weapon.
1. A thrust with a pointed weapon or instrument.
2. A wound inflicted with or as if with a pointed weapon.
3. A sudden piercing pain.
4. An attempt; a try: made a stab at the answer.
stab (someone) in the back
To harm (someone) by treachery or betrayal of trust.
[Middle English stabben.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.