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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Annalise is prone to self-sabotage, giving in to dangerous vices that lead to connections with the wrong people and strained the relationships with the ones who love her most. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "An Ode to How To Get Away With Murder’s Chaotic Leading Lady," 15 May 2020 Perhaps most significantly, Trump’s single best advantage as an incumbent — his access to the bully pulpit — has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage. Jonathan Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "Nervous Republicans see Trump sinking, and taking Senate with him," 25 Apr. 2020 David's paranoia, often fueled by cocaine and mixed with a flair for pretentious self-sabotage, derails every interview opportunity Ron creates, even the holy grail of a sit-down with Rolling Stone. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Stardust': Film Review | Tribeca 2020," 16 Apr. 2020 The sabotage involved gluing a piece of Styrofoam inside the nose of the aircraft that effectively disabled a component pilots depend on to gauge such things as airspeed, the pitch of the plane, and so forth. Curt Anderson, sun-sentinel.com, "Amid terrorism talk, bail denied in aircraft sabotage case," 19 Sep. 2019 Liberals have long been accused of self-sabotage through excessive infighting, inadequate strategizing and voter myopia. Sarah Begley, Time, "These Books Offer Blueprints for the Resistance," 25 Jan. 2018 The sabotage involved gluing a piece of Styrofoam inside the nose of the aircraft that effectively disabled a component pilots depend on to gauge such things as airspeed, the pitch of the plane, and so forth. Curt Anderson, sun-sentinel.com, "Amid terrorism talk, bail denied in aircraft sabotage case," 19 Sep. 2019 The sabotage involved gluing a piece of Styrofoam inside the nose of the aircraft that effectively disabled a component pilots depend on to gauge such things as airspeed, the pitch of the plane, and so forth. Curt Anderson, chicagotribune.com, "‘You may be very sympathetic to terrorists’: Judge denies bail for American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotaging jet," 18 Sep. 2019 That suggests Intel may also be wary of corporate espionage or sabotage. oregonlive, "Intel starts using facial recognition technology to ID workers, visitors," 11 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Recovering from a stroke, Gram is another woman on the mend — and she is also convinced that someone is trying to sabotage her cricket farm. Laura Tucker, New York Times, "A 12-Year-Old Gymnast Heals After a Coach’s Sexual Abuse," 27 Mar. 2020 But there is evil afoot in Jellicleville: The scheming mack daddy known as Macavity (an outrageously seductive Idris Elba) is trying to sabotage the event by cat-napping Jellicles and transporting them to a barge on the Thames. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Cats Is Terrible, But It’s Also Kind of Great," 20 Dec. 2019 Working out the kinks that may be sabotaging clients’ love lives has not been the concern of traditionalists like Baila Sebrow, either. New York Times, "Singles Have to Think Outside the Screen," 9 May 2020 Take the impeachment trial: The Republican president was caught red-handed trying to sabotage the election. Joseph O’neill, The New York Review of Books, "Brand New Dems?," 29 Apr. 2020 Carolina also remains uncertain about Newton properly recovering from a Lisfranc injury that sabotaged his 2019 season. Gene Frenette, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Cam Newton, Jameis Winston not right fits for Jacksonville Jaguars," 27 Mar. 2020 While both male and female prisoners in the Canada Commando tried to sabotage this work, acts punishable by death, their methods differed. Judy Baumel-schwartz, The Conversation, "Auschwitz: Women used different survival and sabotage strategies than men at Nazi death camp," 27 Mar. 2020 Later, Blake tried to sabotage Nick's chances of getting a contestant to join his team by bringing a puppy out on stage. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Fans Are Calling Out the Coaches for 'Hazing' Newbie Nick Jonas," 25 Feb. 2020 With the obstacles presented by the pandemic, and a truculent White House that has been sabotaging its work from the jump, the Census Bureau is scrambling to count each person and in the right place. Rich Benjamin, The New York Review of Books, "Who Counts in a Census Taken During a Pandemic?," 14 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sabotage

Time Traveler for sabotage

Time Traveler

The first known use of sabotage was in 1910

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sabotage

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sabotage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sabotage. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sabotage

sabotage

noun
How to pronounce sabotage (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sabotage

What made you want to look up sabotage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!