Sabotage is the deliberate act of sabotaging or damaging someone’s or something’s plans, activities, or operations, typically for personal, political, or malicious reasons. It involves intentionally causing disruption, harm, or obstruction to hinder progress, compromise functionality, or inflict damage.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



undermine, subvert, hinder, obstruct, disrupt, impair, hamper, damage, ruin


support, aid, assist, promote, facilitate

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun sabotage, sabotages
Verb sabotage, sabotaging, sabotaged, sabotages
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The disgruntled employee attempted to sabotage the company’s production line by tampering with the machinery.

  • The political rival was accused of orchestrating a covert operation to sabotage the opponent’s campaign.

  • The act of sabotage on the bridge caused a major traffic disruption, inconveniencing countless commuters.

  • The ambitious chef resorted to sabotage by intentionally undercooking his colleague’s signature dish, hoping to outshine him in the competition.


The word “sabotage” finds its origins in the French language, specifically from the industrial labor movement in the 19th century. The term derives from the French word “sabot,” meaning a wooden shoe or clog. Legend has it that disgruntled workers would throw their sabots, or shoes, into machinery to disrupt production and express their dissatisfaction. Over time, this act of deliberate damage or obstruction became associated with acts of sabotage.

In terms of usage, “sabotage” can function as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to the act or instance of sabotaging, while as a verb, it describes the deliberate act of sabotaging or undermining someone’s plans or activities. The word is commonly associated with clandestine or covert operations aimed at causing disruption, harm, or dysfunctionality.

The term “sabotage” also lends itself to word formation through the addition of prefixes, suffixes, or roots. For instance, the prefix “self-” can be added to form the word “self-sabotage,” which describes the act of undermining one’s own efforts or success. Similarly, the suffix “-ist” can be added to form “saboteur,” which refers to a person who engages in acts of sabotage. Additionally, related words like “sabotagingly” or “sabotageable” can be created by using suffixes or derivational morphemes.

The concept of sabotage has transcended its industrial roots and has become a broader metaphor for various forms of intentional disruption or obstruction in different contexts. From political campaigns to personal relationships, the term is employed to describe actions aimed at impeding progress, compromising functionality, or causing harm.