Meaning of back-stabbing in English:




mass noun
  • The action of criticizing someone in a treacherous manner despite pretending friendship with them.

    ‘the media world of back-stabbing, scheming, and downright malice’
    • ‘True, we are expected to moonwalk across the vast waters dividing technology from the masses and tiptoe back on egocentric eggshells, circumventing treacherous misunderstandings and political back-stabbing.’
    • ‘Yet amid the betrayal and back-stabbing, the cruelty and crime, the play ultimately has a happy, almost spiritual, finale, shaking the audience out of its 21st century complacency to ask: has anything really changed?’
    • ‘After the lying and back-stabbing that took place this week, relations between the housemates have degenerated into drunken abuse and name-calling.’
    • ‘It's a cool story - theft, corruption, conspiracy theories, mud-slinging and back-stabbing.’
    • ‘As for ‘violence’, a very popular topic in the echolalist edifying ‘discourses’, the one they know best but never write about is character assassination and back-stabbing.’
    • ‘Anyway you slice it, back-stabbing is hurtful, deceitful and disloyal.’
    • ‘The double-dealing and back-stabbing illustrated the attitude of the Boston Irish gangster to informers.’
    • ‘‘I am absolutely appalled at the mere suggestion this might have happened,’ she says in an outraged tone, vowing to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to back-stabbing.’
    • ‘Mind you, I was a little bemused to read the article say: ‘Is my peripheral vision good enough to detect back-stabbing?’’
    • ‘For example, there is no need to worry that the smart machine will indulge in tale-bearing and back-biting, much less plan palace intrigues and carry out malicious back-stabbing.’
    • ‘‘We need to remain united, never to return to the bickering and back-stabbing of the past and we need to remain positive and outward looking,’ he said.’
    • ‘And I have to say that the constant histrionics and tantrums made a French workplace much more fun than the repressed emotions and silent back-stabbing of an English office.’
    • ‘Now the wheel is turning towards romance and intrigue and back-stabbing in other settings, with game shows, suspense and youth shows for variety.’
    • ‘But no saga of corporate back-stabbing could possibly match it, not least because in Rome, back-stabbing was more than a metaphor.’
    • ‘Having distinct responsibilities allowed the crew to avoid turf battles, competition, jealousy and back-stabbing.’
    • ‘Amid all the rehearsals there are love triangles, back-stabbing, popular girls and a very unconvincing school playboy.’
    • ‘Television is a world of giant egos and back-stabbing.’
    • ‘Panic, incompetence, in-fighting and back-stabbing were all documented by the impartial hand of the civil service.’
    • ‘The back-stabbing in Beverly Hills and having to churn out sitcoms on a conveyor belt did not agree with him.’
    • ‘Such directness would have lent a strategic clarity needed to link ends and means in statecraft, reinforced the war's objectives, and reduced a fair amount of second-guessing and downright back-stabbing at home and abroad.’
    duplicity, treachery, betrayal, double-crossing, faithlessness, unfaithfulness, untrustworthiness, infidelity, bad faith, disloyalty, perfidy, perfidiousness, treason, breach of trust, fraud, fraudulence, underhandedness, cheating, dishonesty, deceit, deceitfulness, deception, falseness, stab in the back, back-stabbing, lying, mendacity, trickery, two-facedness


  • (of a person) engaging in back-stabbing; critical of other people despite pretending friendship with them.

    ‘I hate my job and back-stabbing colleagues but worry I won't be able to find a new one’
    • ‘It won't help you achieve a spurious state of spiritual well-being, or help flush toxins out of your system - but it will help you to understand what your boss, your back-stabbing colleague or that girl at the water cooler really think of you.’
    • ‘He asked me how I put up with being with all those back-stabbing girls in the company who just wanted the spotlight, and I asked him how he put up with all the public school idiots and the violence.’
    • ‘There was still a belief amongst many people that the army had not lost the war but had been let down by back-stabbing politicians.’
    • ‘Well, if there's anything that Ken hates more than double-crossing, back-stabbing business partners, it's big band music.’
    • ‘They pocket fat checks and bonuses in exchange for which they have entered the back-stabbing business.’
    • ‘Beyond the power plays, the million dollar deals, and the back-stabbing tycoons and their mistresses, we were given a glimpse of a world about which we can only fantasise.’
    • ‘At the same time it's a couple of levels below what I do with the baboons, which involves looking at who is successful in the highly competitive, back-stabbing baboon societies and what this has to do with physiology.’
    • ‘I've often witnessed this back-stabbing phenomenon among nurses in the hospital, and each time I do I say a silent prayer of thanks that the majority of my colleagues are men.’
    • ‘It's a very dog-eat-dog, back-stabbing business.’
    • ‘Nor did I raise this news-paper to its present position as the finest in the Republic by leaning on the back-stabbing pack of boars that makes up my editorial staff.’
    • ‘No matter how hard we try, we can't have power over a mercurial economy, back-stabbing co-workers or temperamental managers.’
    • ‘Who wouldn't be distracted by back-stabbing teammates?’
    • ‘But I don't want nice - I want those vicious looks and back-stabbing remarks.’
    • ‘You see, he has learned a thing or two from my own back-stabbing acts of rapine ferocity, and doubtless he is applying it to his own affairs.’
    • ‘Using just two prisoners, they showed that they could find a better solution to the dilemma than the back-stabbing scenario if both played a particular quantum move.’
    • ‘Inhuman hours, back-stabbing competition, abuse by superiors; it's all familiar now.’
    • ‘It is not fun fishing with a crowd of back-stabbing locals behind you.’
    • ‘Every auto buying experience I've had involved the worst kind of back-stabbing slimy salesmen until now.’
    • ‘But he, as only history knows, was an inept military commander, a lying, back-stabbing political opportunist, and, for good measure, mostly illiterate.’