Backstab is a closed compound word. A compound word is a word derived from two or more separate words used together to create another word. Compound words are new words that have a different meaning than the definitions of the original words. Compound words are usually composed of two nouns, or an adjective and a noun. New compound words usually consist of two or more separate words, and are called open compound words. Midway through their evolution, compound words may acquire hyphens between the two or more words. A hyphenated compound word is a compound that is composed of two or more words linked by hyphens. Hyphenated compound words are the most likely type of compound words to be composed of two adjectives or two verbs. Hyphenated compound words are often coined by writers, as J.K. Rowling did when she created the phrase He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to describe Lord Voldemort. In general, hyphenated compound words are midway on the journey between being rendered as separate words to being rendered as one word. When a compound becomes a closed compound word, which consists of two or more words joined without any hyphen or space, it has usually been in use for a long time. The advent of the internet has sped up the process of becoming a closed compound word. Understanding words that are compound words will expand one’s basic English vocabulary. We will examine the meaning of the word backstab, its etymology, and some examples of its use in a sentence or two.

Backstab is a verb that means to betray someone or to attack someone verbally in a deceitful manner. Most often, one backstabs someone else by spreading rumor or innuendo, performing a deceitful act, or being pleasant to the victim’s face while ruining his reputation or opportunities behind his back. The compound word backstab is a combination of the words back and stab. Though many attribute the use of the word backstab to the manner in which Julius Caesar was assassinated, the term did not come into use until the latter 1800s. Related words are backstabs, backstabbed, backstabbing, backstabber.


“But he tried to backstab him like Chandrababu did (with then Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao) to grab the CM post.” (Deccan Chronicle

But the blocking of his ally Savannah, as well as his role as the anonymous Joker, served as his villain origin story, prompting Courtney to vow to wreak vengeance on anyone who had wronged her — even if he’d have to lie and backstab in the process. (Rolling Stone)

You may be silently influenced by such negative talk about a backstabbing boss, but you can’t go wrong if you ask your boss the key questions: How can I improve my work performance? (BusinessWorld)

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