a stab at (someone or something)
1. A chance or opportunity to do or attempt something. Well, I haven't fixed a motor in nearly 10 years, but I'll certainly make a stab at it. You had your chance, now let your brother have a stab at breaking the piñata. Give Sarah a stab at the equation. I bet she can solve it!
2. An attempt to best, defeat, or assault someone. Watching him smile that smug, self-important smile, I thought to myself how much I'd love to have a stab at him—one on one, with nothing but our fists! A: "This doesn't seem like any ordinary thief. He's always one step ahead of us." B: "Give me a stab at him, Chief. I think I can bring him in." She made a name for herself as one of the best racers in the world in the span of just one year. Now, every professional worth their salt wants a stab at her.
stab at (someone or something)
1. noun An attempt at or turn doing something, especially when one is uncertain of one's ability to succeed. Well, I haven't fixed a motor in nearly 10 years, but I'll certainly take a stab at it. You had your chance, now let your sister have a stab at breaking the piñata.
2. verb To thrust some sharp, pointed instrument in one's hand in the direction of someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "stab" and "at" to specify what is being used to stab. The fencer stabbed at her opponent, leaving herself open to attack in the process. He was stabbing a fork at the seal on the package when he slipped and accidentally pierced his hand.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
stab something at someone or something
to thrust something at someone or something. The hunter stabbed a stick at the bear to see if there was any life at all left in it. The stork tried to stab its beak at me as I held it, but I held tight while the vet examined it.
stab at someone or something
to thrust at someone or something with something sharp, such as a knife. The horrid man stabbed at me and missed. The stork stabbed at the frog with its beak.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.