a stab in the back

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a stab in the back

A betrayal; an act of treachery. It felt like a stab in the back to hear that Paul was going out with my ex-girlfriend. The campaign coordinator's mid-race shift of allegiance will be quite a stab in the back for the incumbent president.
See also: back, stab

stab someone in the back

 
1. Lit. to thrust a knife into someone's back. Max planned to stab his hostage in the back if he screamed. The murderer stabbed his victim in the back and fled.
2. Fig. to betray someone. I wish you would not gossip about me. There is no need to stab me in the back.
See also: back, stab

a stab in the back

a treacherous act or statement; a betrayal.
See also: back, stab

stab (someone) in the back

To harm (someone) by treachery or betrayal of trust.
See also: back, stab
References in classic literature ?
I have no mind to get a knock on the head or a stab in the back directly I am let out.
Hardened in treachery and in all the tricks and wiles of hatred, he could take a stab in the back and not let his face tell of it.