Idiom: Stab someone in the back
The idiom “stab someone in the back” is a commonly used phrase in the English language that refers to betrayal or treachery. It is often used to describe a situation where someone has been betrayed by someone they trusted or had a close relationship with. In this article, we will explore the meaning of the idiom, its origins, and how it is used in modern-day language.
- to hurt someone who was close to us and trusted us by betraying them secretly and breaking their trust. We call the person who does this a back stabber.
- A betrayal of trust, an act of treachery
- deceive or betray someone
- to do harm to someone who trusted you
The phrase “stab someone in the back” is a metaphor that describes a betrayal or treachery that is done behind someone’s back. It suggests that the person committing the betrayal is acting in a deceitful and underhanded manner, as if they are physically stabbing someone in the back. The phrase is often used to describe a situation where someone has been betrayed by someone they trusted or had a close relationship with.
“Did you hear that Sarah stabbed Kate in the back last week?”
“No! I thought they were best friends, what did she do?”
“She told their boss that Kate wasn’t interested in a promotion at work and Sarah got it instead.”
“Wow, that’s the ultimate betrayal! No wonder they’re not friends anymore.”
“it was very competitive, with everyone stabbing everyone else in the back”
A lot of people in this business think they have to stab each other in the back to succeed.
She felt betrayed, as though her daughter had stabbed her in the back.
He denounced the defection as a stab in the back.
Don’t trust George; he’s been known to stab his friends in the back.
I cannot believe my friend stabbed me in the back by telling my teacher I wasn’t really sick when I stayed home yesterday.
Watch out for the director’s secretary because she’ll stab you in the back the first opportunity she gets.
You’re going to love working here. Everyone’s really nice and you don’t have to worry about anyone stabbing you in the back.
I thought Jonathan was cool but he stabbed me in the back and I’m never going to tell him anything in confidence again.
The acting world is very competitive. You can expect to be stabbed in the back many times throughout your career.
Can you believe my sister stabbed me in the back by telling my parents I snuck out of the house last night?
When I was in trouble, all my friends stabbed me in the back.
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.
The origins of the idiom “stab someone in the back” can be traced back to ancient Roman times. During this period, the Roman army would often engage in battles in which soldiers fought in close combat with swords. In these battles, it was not uncommon for soldiers to be stabbed in the back by their enemies, as they were not able to defend themselves from behind. This act of betrayal was seen as particularly dishonorable and led to the phrase “stab someone in the back” becoming associated with treachery and betrayal.
Printed evidence says this idiom originated in Germany just after World War I. The first reported use of it can be found in a report from England printed in ‘Neue Züricher Zeitung’ on 1 December 1918.
The German army felt that they had been betrayed by the politicians who signed The Treaty of Versailles. It was clear by this point that they were no match for the other side and defeat was inevitable. However, the army did not believe this and blamed the Jewish politicians for their loss. The story was perpetuated by Adolf Hitler when he was rising to power.
He used this “stabbed in the back” story to gain followers. Even though an inquiry proved that the story was not true, it became a part of German history.
How the Idiom is Used in Modern Day Language
Today, the idiom “stab someone in the back” is commonly used in everyday language to describe a situation where someone has been betrayed or let down by someone they trusted. It is often used in both personal and professional contexts, and can refer to a wide range of situations, such as a friend betraying a confidant, a business partner betraying a colleague, or a politician betraying a campaign promise.
Examples of the Idiom in Use
- “I can’t believe my best friend would stab me in the back like that.”
- “After all the years we’ve worked together, I never thought he would stab me in the back like that.”
- “I thought he was a loyal friend, but he completely stabbed me in the back.”
- “He promised to support me, but in the end, he stabbed me in the back.”
The idiom “stab someone in the back” is a commonly used phrase in the English language that refers to a betrayal or treachery. It is often used to describe a situation where someone has been betrayed by someone they trusted or had a close relationship with. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Roman times, where it was used to describe a particularly dishonorable act of betrayal. Today, it is commonly used in both personal and professional contexts and can refer to a wide range of situations.