sabotage

noun
sab·​o·​tage | \ ˈsa-bə-ˌtäzh \

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

Don’t let your attempts to stay warm sabotage your eyes. Korin Miller, SELF, "8 Ways to Keep Winter From Making Your Dry Eyes Worse," 11 Dec. 2018 The origin of the hole has yet to be determined, and its existence has spawned numerous wild rumors about in-space sabotage. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Russian cosmonauts are spacewalking to figure out the origin of a mysterious spacecraft hole," 11 Dec. 2018 Russia has also reportedly instigated a campaign of drone sabotage against Ukrainian military bases, particularly ammunition dumps, in one case causing a billion dollars’ worth of damage. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia Seizes Three Ukrainian Warships in Border Incident," 26 Nov. 2018 Nicky is done being saved by Superman Jack—and may be on his own self-sabotage mission. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Reveals Zoe’s Heartbreaking Trauma," 14 Nov. 2018 The program even survived attempts at sabotage by the Obama Administration like expanding waivers for work requirements. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The GOP’s Welfare to Work Pitch," 5 June 2018 The Urban Institute has calculated that the various acts of legislative and executive sabotage against the law will increase premiums on the individual market by an average of 18 percent. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Republican Campaign Message: We Had to Jack Up Your Insurance Premiums to Help the Poor," 19 Apr. 2018 The Spanish government views such actions as sabotage against the state. Renata Brito, Fox News, "With Catalonia's leaders in jail, Spain hits the grassroots," 13 Apr. 2018 Second, the space agency wanted to affirm its view that this was likely not an intentional bit of sabotage—and definitely was not an act of NASA astronauts in space. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "After more speculation about cause of ISS leak, NASA issues another statement," 3 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

She was thought to have sabotaged electrical wires, set several small fires herself, and even barricade her young son in his closet. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The 1991 Firestorm That Changed Everything We Thought We Knew About Arson," 8 Nov. 2018 Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is reportedly looking to sabotage Liverpool's move for Lyon star Nabil Fekir. SI.com, "Man Utd Boss Jose Mourinho Hoping to Sabotage Liverpool Move for £60m Star This Summer," 11 May 2018 In a July 2017 appearance on CNN, for example, Whitaker spoke of various ways the White House might sabotage Mueller’s probe. Murray Waas, Vox, "Exclusive: Trump loyalist Matthew Whitaker was counseling the White House on investigating Clinton," 9 Nov. 2018 And the Trump administration has sabotaged tech companies with harsh immigration limits and erratic trade policy. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Trump keeps threatening tech companies, but he’s terrible at following through," 29 Aug. 2018 However, in a fresh twist, the veteran politician is being investigated under a controversial anti-fake news law over a claim his plane was sabotaged, police said Wednesday. Euan Mckirdy, CNN, "Can Malaysia's unlikely political double act score election triumph?," 3 May 2018 The crackdown, however, hasn’t stopped some sellers from sabotaging rivals. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "Amazon, Amid Crackdown on Seller Scams, Fires Employees Over Data Leak," 10 Dec. 2018 This week’s traitors are Sage, who sabotages Blair’s show by taking off all her clothes, and Dan, who screws over Nate by selling the rest of his story to Vanity Fair. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 2018 Whether or not the offense avoids sabotaging that is the season's biggest question. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's defense is championship caliber," 7 July 2018

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

Dictionary Entries near sabotage

sabora

saboraic

sabot

sabotage

saboteur

sabotier

sabra

Statistics for sabotage

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sabotage

The first known use of sabotage was in 1910

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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

excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!