stab in the back
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Related to stab in the back: stab someone 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.
stab (one) in the back
To betray someone's confidence or trust. These companies all want to pretend like they're your friend, but they'll stab you in the back the moment it makes financial sense for them. The gangster's second in command stabbed him in the back to assume control over the entire criminal organization.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
stab (someone) in the back
To harm (someone) by treachery or betrayal of trust.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
stab in the back, a
A treacherous attack. Surprisingly, this term has been used figuratively only since the early twentieth century; literally it must be as old as the word “stab” (fourteenth century). Rudyard Kipling used it in Limits and Renewals (1932): “He . . . stabs me in the back with his crazy schemes for betterment.”
See also: stab
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer