sabotage (n.)

1910, from Fr. sabotage, from saboter “to sabotage, bungle,” lit. “walk noisily,” from sabot “wooden shoe” (13c.), altered (by association with O. Fr. bot “boot”) from M. Fr. savate “old shoe,” from an unidentified source that also produced similar words in O. Prov., Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Basque. In French, the sense of “deliberately and maliciously destroying property” originally was in reference to labor disputes, but the oft-repeated story that the modern meaning derives from strikers’ supposed tactic of throwing old shoes into machinery is not supported by the etymology. Likely it was not meant as a literal image; the word was used in French in a variety of “bungling” senses, such as “to play a piece of music badly.” The verb is first attested 1918 in English, from the noun. Saboteur is 1921, a borrowing of the French agent noun. Related: Sabotaged; sabotaging.

Axé.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s