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SABOTAGE

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SABOTAGE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:05 pm

• sabotage •


Pronunciation: sæ-bê-tahzh • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: Deliberate subversive action to undermine activities of an enemy, especially during wartime.

Notes: Today's Good Word is so fresh out of French that the agent noun, referring to a person undertaking sabotage, is still a saboteur [sæ-bê-tur], with the French accented suffix -eur. Sabotage itself may be used as a verb: to sabotage an arms factory.

In Play: Do not throw in machinery!Any attempt at interrupting a normal activity of someone you dislike is an act of sabotage: "Mandy Gunz sabotaged her neighbor's tea party by putting salt in all the sugar bowls." However, this word is far more often used in reference to sub rosa terrorist activities: "Someone sabotaged our local ice cream company, putting it out of service for a month and sending 32 people to the hospital suffering panic attacks."

Word History: Although the French word sabotage is based on the word sabot "wooden shoe", the meaning of today's word did not come from French workers throwing their shoes into new machinery during the Industrial Revolution. This is an urban myth of long standing. Sabotage is the noun from the verb saboter, which originally meant "to clatter like wooden shoes", but later came to mean "to botch, screw up (a piece of music)". The normal noun from saboter is sabotage. Sabot itself comes from the family that includes Spanish zapato "shoe", Portuguese sapato "shoe", and Italian ciabatta "slipper", now also a type of bread (not worn on the feet). Though the source of the original word is a mystery, it is more likely that Arabic borrowed its sabbat "sandal" from Spanish than vice versa. (We are in fact very grateful to Sue Gold of Westtown School, Westtown, Pennsylvania, for throwing this shoe word into the Good Word machinery.)
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Re: SABOTAGE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:53 pm

Arabic "sabbat", any relation to Hebrew Sabbath?
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Re: SABOTAGE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:46 am

Common Semitic root. Means seventh.
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Re: SABOTAGE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:45 am

But on "STOP" signs in parts of Israel it is
something like sabbato (I don't speak Hebrew).
Stop your work on the 7th day, stop for the Lord.
This would make more sense with sabotage
in that it stops the work, clogs up the mess.
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Re: SABOTAGE

Postby Slava » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:28 pm

Hmm.
Arabic sabbat - sandal
Hebrew sabbath - 7
How did they get that way from a theoretically common root?
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Re: SABOTAGE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:46 pm

And clatter like wooden shoes, or 'mess up',
throw a wrench into the works, and keep one day
holy, and Stop.
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Re: SABOTAGE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:09 pm

My bad. I didn't check. The root is a verb meaning to rest. Since in the OT God rested on the seventh day, the terms became. Interchangeable as the sabbath, a day of rest, which was the seventh day. Thus not sure of Arabic sandal. Any Arabic readers out know whether there is another similar word for rest or seven in that language?
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