stab in the back, a

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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
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.
See also: back, stab
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

stab in the back, a

A betrayal of trust, an act of treachery, as in Voting against our bill at the last minute was a real stab in the back. It is also put as stab someone in the back, meaning "betray someone." For example, Don't trust George; he's been known to stab his friends in the back. Both the noun and verb forms of this idiom, alluding to a physical attack when one's back is turned, date from the early 1900s.
See also: stab
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a stab in the back

a treacherous act or statement; a betrayal.
See also: back, stab
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

stab (someone) in the back

To harm (someone) by treachery or betrayal of trust.
See also: back, stab
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
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