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[sab-uh-tahzh, sab-uh-tahzh] /ˈsæb əˌtɑʒ, ˌsæb əˈtɑʒ/
any underhand interference with production, work, etc., in a plant, factory, etc., as by enemy agents during wartime or by employees during a trade dispute.
any undermining of a cause.
verb (used with object), sabotaged, sabotaging.
to injure or attack by sabotage.
1865-70; < French, equivalent to sabot(er) to botch, orig., to strike, shake up, harry, derivative of sabot sabot + -age -age
Related forms
unsabotaged, adjective
3. disable, vandalize, cripple. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for sabotage
  • That kind of sabotage would harm the company's efforts to sell its electricity
  • In cases like yours, there's only one good reason to call a potential employer: to sabotage your chances of getting the gig.
  • Malone, an outspoken opponent of the project, is suspected of sabotage.
  • Such procrastination is a mystery to psychologists, who wonder why people would sabotage themselves in this way.
  • Nothing can sabotage success faster than fear.
  • At first the competition was playful, but soon they were trying to sabotage each other, and were barely speaking.
  • No matter what diet you follow, some behaviors can sabotage weight loss.
  • Federal investigators have yet to determine whether the crash resulted from accident or sabotage.
  • It is possible that it went missing in an act of sabotage by a farsighted collector.
  • Read biographies of any number of well known people and see that they struggled with rejection and sabotage as a matter of course.
British Dictionary definitions for sabotage


the deliberate destruction, disruption, or damage of equipment, a public service, etc, as by enemy agents, dissatisfied employees, etc
any similar action or behaviour
(transitive) to destroy, damage, or disrupt, esp by secret means
Word Origin
C20: from French, from saboter to spoil through clumsiness (literally: to clatter in sabots)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for sabotage
1910, from Fr. sabotage, from saboter "to sabotage, bungle," lit. "walk noisily," from sabot "wooden shoe" (13c.), altered (by association with O.Fr. bot "boot") from M.Fr. savate "old shoe," from an unidentified source that also produced similar words in O.Prov., Port., Sp., It., Arabic and Basque. In Fr., the sense of "deliberately and maliciously destroying property" originally was in ref. to labor disputes, but the oft-repeated story that the modern meaning derives from strikers' supposed tactic of throwing old shoes into machinery is not supported by the etymology. Likely it was not meant as a literal image; the word was used in Fr. in a variety of "bungling" senses, such as "to play a piece of music badly." The verb is first attested 1918 in Eng., from the noun. Saboteur is 1921, a borrowing from Fr.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for sabotage

deliberate destruction of property or slowing down of work with the intention of damaging a business or economic system or weakening a government or nation in a time of national emergency. The word is said to date from a French railway strike of 1910 when workers destroyed the wooden shoes (sabots) that held the rails in place. A few years later sabotage was employed in the United States in the form of slowdowns, particularly in situations that made a strike untenable-such as by migratory workers whose employment was temporary. During World War II anti-German resistance and partisan movements in Europe practiced effective sabotage against factories, military installations, railroads, bridges, and so on, especially in the Soviet Union. After the war, sabotage became the basic weapon of the numerous insurgent groups associated with anticolonial, separatist, and communist-backed movements

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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