- 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.
- to injure or attack by sabotage.
Origin of sabotage
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sabotage
But was it necessary to try to sabotage her career and her book and spend hours of our own lives trying to make her life hell?It's Dangerous to Go Alone: Why Are Gamers So Angry?
August 28, 2014
The Americans and the Israelis have worked to sabotage German gear that Iran has tried to purchase on the black market.One Big Reason The CIA Spied on Germany: Worries About Russian Moles in Berlin
July 12, 2014
But the Russian sabotage and provocation operations currently underway?What to Do When Russia Invades Your Country
May 7, 2014
Why the prime suspect is Pakistan—and the motive to sabotage any potential peace deal.Taliban Peacemaker Agha Jan Motasim Locked Up
Jacob Siegel, Sami Yousafzai
April 17, 2014
The truth is that Schwarzenegger is quite good in Sabotage, even if the rest of the movie isn't very good at all.Is This the End of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Comeback?
March 30, 2014
I was in his office when the report of sabotage to your plane came through.
“I got a hunch I know what kind of sabotage will be tried next—and when,” said Mike.
But of course there were the orders that said he was a sabotage expert.
There was a sort of pattern in the way the other sabotage incidents had been planned.
By "other situation" Crag knew he was referring to the sabotage.First on the Moon
- the deliberate destruction, disruption, or damage of equipment, a public service, etc, as by enemy agents, dissatisfied employees, etc
- any similar action or behaviour
- (tr) to destroy, damage, or disrupt, esp by secret means
Word Origin and History for sabotage
1907 (from 1903 as a French word in English), from French sabotage, from saboter "to sabotage, bungle," literally "walk noisily," from sabot "wooden shoe" (13c.), altered (by association with Old French bot "boot") from Middle French savate "old shoe," from an unidentified source that also produced similar words in Old Provençal, Portuguese, Spanish (zapata), Italian (ciabatta), Arabic (sabbat), and Basque (zapata).
In French, and at first in English, the sense of "deliberately and maliciously destroying property" originally was in reference to labor disputes, but the oft-repeated story (as old as the record of the word in English) that the modern meaning derives from strikers' supposed tactic of throwing shoes into machinery is not supported by the etymology. Likely it was not meant as a literal image; the word was used in French in a variety of "bungling" senses, such as "to play a piece of music badly." This, too, was the explanation given in some early usages.
SABOTAGE [chapter heading] The title we have prefixed seems to mean "scamping work." It is a device which, we are told, has been adopted by certain French workpeople as a substitute for striking. The workman, in other words, purposes to remain on and to do his work badly, so as to annoy his employer's customers and cause loss to his employer. ["The Liberty Review," January 1907]
You may believe that sabotage is murder, and so forth, but it is not so at all. Sabotage means giving back to the bosses what they give to us. Sabotage consists in going slow with the process of production when the bosses go slow with the same process in regard to wages. [Arturo M. Giovannitti, quoted in report of the Sagamore Sociological Conference, June 1907]
In English, "malicious mischief" would appear to be the nearest explicit definition of "sabotage," which is so much more expressive as to be likely of adoption into all languages spoken by nations suffering from this new force in industry and morals. Sabotage has a flavor which is unmistakable even to persons knowing little slang and no French .... ["Century Magazine," November 1910]
1912, from sabotage (n). Related: Sabotaged; sabotaging.