sa·​bot sa-ˈbō How to pronounce sabot (audio)
for sense 1b also
ˈsa-bət How to pronounce sabot (audio)
: a wooden shoe worn in various European countries
: a strap across the instep in a shoe especially of the sandal type
: a shoe having a sabot strap
: a thrust-transmitting carrier that positions a missile in a gun barrel or launching tube and that prevents the escape of gas ahead of the missile

Illustration of sabot

Illustration of sabot
  • sabot 1a

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The Evolution of Sabot

The term sabot may have first been introduced into English in a 1607 translation from French: "wooden shoes," readers were informed, are "properly called sabots." The gun-related sense appeared in the mid-1800s with the invention of a wooden gizmo that kept gun shells from shifting in the gun barrel. Apparently, someone thought the device resembled a wooden shoe and named it sabot (with later generations of this device carrying on the name). Another kind of French sabot—a metal "shoe" used to secure rails to railway ties—is said to be the origin of the word sabotage, from workers destroying the sabots during a French railway strike in the early 1900s. The word sabot is probably related to savate, a Middle French word for an old shoe.

Examples of sabot in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Traditions Smackdown Carnivore 250-grain bullet with sabot produced the following results. Brad Fenson, Outdoor Life, 1 Nov. 2023 The high polish in the bore after lapping helps minimize plastic buildup from sabots, which can degrade accuracy. Tony Hansen, Outdoor Life, 22 June 2023 In a skirmish with Russian armor, an AMX-10RC crew should try to open fire as far away as possible—1,500 yards or so—in order to take advantage of the F2’s high muzzle velocity while firing armor-piercing sabot shells. David Axe, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2023 Health Hazards While encased in their sabots, studies have shown DU shells don’t pose a significant radiological hazard to those that handle them. Popular Mechanics, 29 Mar. 2023 By comparison, even Russia’s newer 3UBM11 100-millimeter sabot rounds with tungsten penetrators achieve only 280-millimeters equivalent penetration at 2 kilometers, and the 3UBM8 HEAT round blasts through 350-millimeters at any range. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 24 Mar. 2023 The British gun is compatible with a wide range of modern ammunition, including armor-piercing sabot rounds that can penetrate the armor of a modern-ish T-72. David Axe, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2022 But the park’s star flora is a rare, spectacular orchid: the sabot de Vénus, or Venus slipper. National Geographic, 1 Sep. 2020 He was photographed in 1862 wearing sabots, the wooden clogs that were traditional peasant footwear. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sabot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sabot was in 1607


Dictionary Entries Near sabot

Cite this Entry

“Sabot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

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