June 28, 2016
sabotage (noun)
\SAB-uh-tahzh\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : destruction of an employer's property or the action of making it difficult to work by discontented workers2 : destructive or blocking action carried on by enemy agents or sympathizers to make a nation's war effort more difficult
How do you use it?
The workers' sabotage of the machinery forced the boss to finally give in to their demands for better pay.
Are you a word wiz?

From what language do you think English borrowed the word "sabotage"?

Tres bien if you picked answer A. In French the word "sabot" refers to "a wooden work shoe." No one is sure exactly how "sabot" is related to "sabotage," but the connection was made through the verb "saboter." About 100 years ago, "saboteur" acquired the meaning "to damage an employer's property." That meaning is based on an earlier use of "saboteur" to mean "to botch or bungle." An explanation often given for the "bungle" sense is that people somehow associated walking in the noisy wooden shoes with working in a careless way. But evidence casts some doubt on this story, and the history of "sabotage" remains uncertain.
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