American English

Definition of stab noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1an act of stabbing or trying to stab someone or something; a wound caused by stabbing He received several stabs in the chest. She died of a single stab wound to the heart.
  2. 2a sudden sharp pain or unpleasant feeling She felt a sudden stab of pain in the chest. a stab of guilt/fear/pity/jealousy, etc.
  3. 3[usually singular] (informal) an attempt to do something stab (at something) He found the test difficult but nevertheless made a good stab at it. stab (at doing something) Countless people have had a stab at solving the riddle. I've always enjoyed acting, but I'd like to have a stab at directing one day.
  4. Idioms
    a shot/stab in the dark
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    a guess; something you do without knowing what the result will be The figure he came up with was really just a shot in the dark.
    a stab in the back (informal)
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    an act that harms someone, done by a person they thought was a friend Her refusal to support his campaign was a real stab in the back.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: stab