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sabotage Line breaks: sabo|tage
Pronunciation: /ˈsabətɑːʒ/

Definition of sabotage in English:


[with object]
Deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage: power lines from South Africa were sabotaged by rebel forces
More example sentences
  • They were prepared to sabotage the Soviet war machine in the event of a Warsaw Pact-NATO conflict.
  • At first Isak deliberately sabotages the intruder's research by preparing his food in his bedroom, or in other ways changing his habits.
  • Russian partisans sabotaged railways, destroyed trucks and killed hundreds of Germans in ambush.
wreck, deliberately damage, vandalize, destroy, obstruct, disrupt, cripple, impair, incapacitate
disrupt, spoil, ruin, wreck, undermine, filibuster, impair, damage, threaten, subvert
British informalthrow a spanner in the works of, muller
North American informalthrow a monkey wrench in the works of


[mass noun] Back to top  
The action of sabotaging something: a coordinated campaign of sabotage
More example sentences
  • Their arrest is only one of an increasing number of arrests in which Germans have been suspected of planning similar acts of sabotage.
  • Acts of sabotage and non-cooperation undermined the Nazis' attempts to exploit the resources of Denmark.
  • He reported that in September there were 534 acts of sabotage against railroads as compared to a monthly average of 130 during the first half of the year.
wrecking, deliberate damage, vandalism, destruction, obstruction, disruption, crippling, impairment, incapacitation
British informala spanner in the works
North American informala monkey wrench in the works


Early 20th century: from French, from saboter 'kick with sabots, wilfully destroy' (see sabot).

  • French peasants and other workers traditionally wore sabots, wooden clogs. When French workmen took action against the introduction of new technology by destroying machines and tools in the 19th century, people looked at them and called the action sabotage. The word first appeared in English the first decade of the 20th century, referring to a court case in Paris. By 1916 the Sydney Morning Herald could report a labourer on an Australian sheep farm threatening sabotage against politicians and employers.

Words that rhyme with sabotage

massage • dressage

Definition of sabotage in:

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