sabotage

noun
sab·​o·​tage | \ ˈsa-bə-ˌtäzh How to pronounce sabotage (audio) \

Definition of sabotage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : destruction of an employer's property (such as tools or materials) or the hindering of manufacturing by discontented workers
2 : destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation's war effort
3a : an act or process tending to hamper or hurt
b : deliberate subversion

sabotage

verb
sabotaged; sabotaging

Definition of sabotage (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to practice sabotage on

Examples of sabotage in a Sentence

Noun Angry workers were responsible for the sabotage of the machines. Officials have not yet ruled out sabotage as a possible cause of the crash. Verb They sabotaged the enemy's oil fields. The airplane crashed because it was sabotaged. The lawyer is trying to sabotage the case by creating confusion. The deal was sabotaged by an angry employee.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun An apparent incident of sabotage provoked an angry response. Washington Post, "Israel plays spoiler in Biden’s Iran gambit," 14 Apr. 2021 But Iran has at times offered such assessments in the immediate aftermath of sabotage, only to revise them later. New York Times, "Blackout Hits Iran Nuclear Site in What Appears to Be Israeli Sabotage," 11 Apr. 2021 Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out. New York Times, "G. Gordon Liddy, Mastermind Behind Watergate Burglary, Dies at 90," 30 Mar. 2021 On Sunday, comedian John Oliver suggested people submit images of rats mating, in a nod to an obscene slang term for devious political sabotage. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post, "Teens, comedians and pranksters spam Trump’s voter fraud hotline," 9 Nov. 2020 Suspicion immediately fell on Israel, which for years has carried out a campaign of high-profile explosions, assassinations and other forms of sabotage aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. Washington Post, "Iran accuses Israel of attacking key nuclear site, calling it ‘crime against humanity’," 12 Apr. 2021 Organizers in several cities canceled events because of sabotage by antifa activists. NBC News, "'White Lives Matter' rallies flop as hardly anyone shows up," 12 Apr. 2021 The concept of internal resistance is also known as self-sabotage. Yec, Forbes, "How To Overcome Internal Resistance To Boost Your Career," 8 Apr. 2021 None was found, but Liddy and Hunt were reunited on the staff of Nixon's reelection committee to run an intelligence and sabotage campaign against the 1972 Democratic presidential candidates. Philip Terzian, Washington Examiner, "G. Gordon Liddy, 1930-2021," 1 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Just before federal agents closed in, its members had been figuring out how to sabotage the power grid in Los Angeles, hoping to incite riots and looting. New York Times, "From the Past, a Chilling Warning About the Extremists of the Present," 1 May 2021 Rigidity and negativity can sabotage even the best intentions. Michael Higgins, Forbes, "Self-Compassion At Work: Does It Lead To Success?," 27 Apr. 2021 Even modest steps to lift the Trump-era sanctions will all but sabotage any hopes of getting Iran to make any sort of concessions on the myriad of issues that the Obama deal failed to address. The Editors, National Review, "Iran Has a Reason to Be Happy with Biden," 7 Apr. 2021 Even worse, Ellsberg might leak evidence that Nixon had tried to sabotage peace talks with Vietnam just before his 1968 election. Christian Appy, The Conversation, "How Richard Nixon’s obsession with Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers sowed the seeds for the president’s downfall," 23 Apr. 2021 The governor’s office suggested that Ms. James and Mr. DiNapoli, both Democrats, had acted to sabotage his political future in favor of their own. Jesse Mckinley, New York Times, "Cuomo Faces Inquiry Over Use of State Resources for Pandemic Book," 19 Apr. 2021 Directed by Eli Roth, Knock Knock tells the story of two women who sweet-talk their way into a man’s home as part of a scheme to sabotage him. Travis Bean, Forbes, "The 10 Best Movies To Stream On Netflix Before They Disappear At The End Of April," 17 Apr. 2021 But forsaking Xinjiang cotton entails its own troubles — the wrath of Chinese consumers who denounce the attention on the Uyghurs as a Western plot to sabotage China’s development. New York Times, "Global Brands Find It Hard to Untangle Themselves From Xinjiang Cotton," 6 Apr. 2021 Beau’s very moniker nods to his ideology: A fifth column is a double-agent who seeks to sabotage a group or country from within. Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times, "Effort to stem online extremism accidentally pushed people toward an anarchist," 30 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sabotage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sabotage

Noun

1910, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1913, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sabotage

Noun

French, from saboter to clatter with sabots, botch, sabotage, from sabot

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Time Traveler for sabotage

Time Traveler

The first known use of sabotage was in 1910

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Statistics for sabotage

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sabotage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sabotage. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for sabotage

sabotage

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sabotage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of destroying or damaging something deliberately so that it does not work correctly

sabotage

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sabotage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to destroy or damage (something) deliberately so that it does not work correctly
: to cause the failure of (something) deliberately

sabotage

noun
sab·​o·​tage | \ ˈsa-bə-ˌtäzh How to pronounce sabotage (audio) \

Kids Definition of sabotage

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: deliberate destruction of or damage to property Angry workers used sabotage to disable the factory's machinery.

sabotage

verb
sabotaged; sabotaging

Kids Definition of sabotage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to damage or destroy on purpose : to engage in sabotage The country's water supply was sabotaged by the retreating enemy.

sabotage

noun
sab·​o·​tage | \ ˈsa-bə-ˌtäzh How to pronounce sabotage (audio) \

Legal Definition of sabotage

1 : the willful destruction of an employer's property or the hindering of normal operations by other means
2 : the injury, destruction, or knowingly defective production of materials, premises, or utilities used for war or national defense — compare criminal syndicalism, sedition

History and Etymology for sabotage

French, from saboter to clatter with wooden shoes, botch, sabotage, from sabot wooden shoe

Comments on sabotage

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