See also: Stab, STAB, stáb, and štab


English Wikipedia has an article on:


  • enPR: stăb, IPA(key): /stæb/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: stab
  • Rhymes: -æb

Etymology 1Edit

First attested in Scottish English (compare Scots stob, stobbe, stabb (a pointed stick or stake; a thrust with a pointed weapon)), from Middle English stabbe (a stab), probably a variant of Middle English stob, stub, stubbe (pointed stick, stake, thorn, stub, stump), from Old Norse stobbi, stubbi, cognate with Old English stybb. Cognate with Middle Dutch stobbe.

Supposed by some to derive from Scottish Gaelic stob (to prick, to prod, to push, to thrust); supposed by others to be from a Scots word.


stab (plural stabs)

  1. An act of stabbing or thrusting with an object.
    • 1979, Karl May, The Secret Brotherhood: A Novel, Seabury Press, →ISBN, page 52:
      A knife was flashing in his hand, and just as he was about to take a stab at me, the smith grabbed his arm from behind.
  2. A wound made by stabbing.
  3. Pain inflicted on a person's feelings.
    • 2001, Van Whitfield, Guys in Suits: A Novel, Doubleday, →ISBN, page 73:
      “I bet you two have really big plans. And might I say, that is just fab,” he said of Lynn's dress. “I'm glad someone noticed,” she replied, seeming to take a stab at me.
  4. (informal) An attempt.
    I'll give this thankless task a stab.
    • 2022 January 12, Sir Michael Holden, “Reform of the workforce or death by a thousand cuts?”, in RAIL, number 948, page 22:
      As yet, we don't know what the comparable figures will be like for the current financial year which ends in March 2022, but we can have a good stab at approximating them.
  5. Criticism.
  6. (music) A single staccato chord that adds dramatic impact to a composition.
    a horn stab
  7. A bacterial culture made by inoculating a solid medium, such as gelatin, with the puncture of a needle or wire.
Derived termsEdit


A man about to be stabbed.

stab (third-person singular simple present stabs, present participle stabbing, simple past and past participle stabbed)

  1. (transitive) To pierce or to wound (somebody) with a (usually pointed) tool or weapon, especially a knife or dagger.
    If you stab him in the heart he won't live long enough to retaliate.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tremarn Case[1]:
      "There the cause of death was soon ascertained ; the victim of this daring outrage had been stabbed to death from ear to ear with a long, sharp instrument, in shape like an antique stiletto, which [] was subsequently found under the cushions of the hansom. […]"
    • 2021 February 3, Drachinifel, Guadalcanal Campaign - Santa Cruz (IJN 2 : 2 USN)[2], archived from the original on 4 December 2022, retrieved 11 December 2022, 12:32 from the start:
      Hornet blazed away as best she could, but, having to split her attention between high and low attackers, as well as having the aft 5-inch battery temporarily disabled by a young officer who'd accidentally run the guns into their stops, freezing them in position until the issue could be sorted, meant that two 550-pound semi-armor-piercing bombs, and one fractionally-lighter high-explosive bomb, soon crashed down, the first two stabbing deep into the ship and the other one blowing a hole in the flight deck, accompanied by a dive bomber that had been shot down but elected to go out by slamming into the Hornet as opposed to the sea. In some small comfort, that aircraft's bomb didn't go off as well.
  2. (transitive) To thrust in a stabbing motion.
    to stab a dagger into a person
  3. (intransitive) To recklessly hit with the tip of a (usually pointed) object, such as a weapon or finger (often used with at).
    He stabbed at my face with the twig but luckily kept missing my eyes.
  4. (intransitive) To cause a sharp, painful sensation (often used with at).
    The snow from the blizzard was stabbing at my face as I skied down the mountain.
  5. (transitive, figurative) To injure secretly or by malicious falsehood or slander.
    to stab a person's reputation
  6. (transitive) To roughen a brick wall with a pick so as to hold plaster.
  7. (transitive) To pierce folded sheets, near their back edges, for the passage of thread or wire.
Derived termsEdit


  • stab in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
  • stab at OneLook Dictionary Search

Etymology 2Edit

Clipping of stabilizer or stabiliser.


stab (plural stabs)

  1. (aviation, slang) The horizontal or vertical stabilizer of an aircraft.
    • 2020, Chris Brady, “737 MAX - MCAS”, in The Boeing 737 Technical Site[3], archived from the original on 23 January 2021:
      If the pilots used electric pitch trim, it would only pause MCAS for 5s; to deactivate it you have to switch off the STAB TRIM CUTOUT switches.

Etymology 3Edit


stab (not comparable)

  1. (industrial relations) Clipping of established.
    • 1893, Proceedings of the Parliament of South Australia (page 313)
      Do you know whether any country offices pay their men by the thousand, or whether they are on stab wages? — I do not know. Some are paid stab wages, but I do not know whether there is much piece-work.
    • 1967, John Child, Industrial Relations in the British Printing Industry (page 113)
      The pressmen were granted a stab wage of 36s for a 60 hour week, and the extras for overtime and Sunday work []


stab (plural not attested)

  1. (industrial relations) Clipping of establishment.
    • 1892, The British Printer (volume 5, page 42)
      [] there were 286 overseers and 210 readers occupied in the 501 offices; 2,691 compositors were paid on the stab []




From German Stab.


stab c (singular definite staben, plural indefinite stabe)

  1. staff




Proto-Salish *s-tam ("what?"; "something"), from *s- +‎ *tam (thing; what)



  1. what (interrogative pronoun)
  2. thing


Swedish Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia sv


From German Stab.[1]



stab c

  1. a staff
  2. a stick


Declension of stab 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative stab staben staber staberna
Genitive stabs stabens stabers stabernas


  1. ^ stab in Elof Hellquist, Svensk etymologisk ordbok (1st ed., 1922)