Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Destruction of property or obstruction of normal operations, as by civilians or enemy agents in time of war.
  • n. Treacherous action to defeat or hinder a cause or an endeavor; deliberate subversion.
  • transitive v. To commit sabotage against.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy through subversion, obstruction, disruption, and/or destruction.
  • v. to deliberately destroy or damage something in order to prevent it from being successful

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. Scamped work.
  • n. Malicious waste or destruction of an employer's property or injury to his interests by workmen during labor troubles.
  • n. any surreptitious destruction of property or obstruction of activity by persons not known to be hostile; -- in war, such actions carried out behind enemy lines by agents or local sympathisers of the hostile power.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a deliberate act of destruction or disruption in which equipment is damaged
  • v. destroy property or hinder normal operations

Etymologies

French, from saboter, to walk noisily, bungle, sabotage, from sabot, sabot; see sabot.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French sabotage (verb is from the noun) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word sabotage is storied to be from the French word for wooden shoe, sabot, to recall how French workers threw their shoes into newfangled machinery to foil the efforts of industrial revolution bosses.

    Survival of the Savvy

  • OTTAWA — The Bloc Quebecois filed a police complaint over what it described as sabotage in one of four federal byelections Monday.

    Dismal Turnouts For Victory!

  • AMMAN Reuters - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Saturday legislation to lift 48 years of emergency law would be enacted by next week but warned that new laws in the works would not be lenient toward what he called sabotage.

    Reuters: Top News

  • In fact, according to the ghostly murmurings of Mary Alice’s narration, there is a lot more depth to the term sabotage than those pesky Beastie Boys would have us believe.

    Televisionista

  • Preventing last-minute efforts at sabotage is more difficult, structurally, because there are very few processes in government that are immunized from political interference.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Cape Wind Approved

  • The headline asks if sabotage is happening - with no proof (that I can see) to even hint that such a thing has happened and/or that NASA is investigating actual events as suspected sabotage at this attempt.

    Imagining News - NASA Watch

  • Nah, self-sabotage is part and parcel with becoming a Democrat.

    Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » School Uniforms

  • Note that it would be impossible to distinguish this sabotage from the average COIN presentation.

    Matthew Yglesias » Blockbuster

  • They say the allegations against him amount to participating in a battle with enemy soldiers, which, in contrast to targeting civilians or sabotage, is not a war crime.

    Gitmo Defendant in Plea Talks

  • (C) knowingly engages in sabotage or international terrorism, or activities that are in preparation therefor, for or on behalf of a foreign power.

    Think Progress » Fact Check: Clinton/Carter Executive Orders Did Not Authorize Warrantless Searches of Americans

Comments

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  • sabotage means demolish
    eg hitler sabotaged the czechoslovakia

    July 3, 2012

  • The etymology gives the origin of the word, rather than the uses to which sabots were put to. Clomping around in wooden boots would require the wearer to invest in a pair of hard-wearing sashoons, no?

    January 10, 2012

  • i thought the etymology was to kick someone from the side with wooden boots, in French, which was "sabot"

    January 10, 2012

  • Then there is this: Pizzeria Owner Left Mice At Rival Shops. I aver rats and cockroaches will triumph in the end.

    "This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper." - T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

    March 2, 2011

  • "I Can't Stand It I Know You Planned It
    But I'm Gonna Set It Straight, This Watergate
    I Can't Stand Rocking When I'm In Here
    Because Your Crystal Ball Ain't So Crystal Clear
    So While You Sit Back And Wonder Why
    I Got This Fucking Thorn In My Side
    Oh My God, It's A Mirage
    I'm Tellin' Y'all It's Sabotage"

    July 31, 2007