1907年(从1903年开始作为英语中的法语词), 来自法语 sabotage, 来自 saboter “破坏, 捣乱”, 字面意思是“吵吵闹闹地走路”, 来自 sabot “木鞋” (13世纪), 由早期 savate “旧鞋” 改变(与古法语 bot “靴子” 有关), 来自同一来源(也许是波斯语 ciabat), 在古普罗旺斯语, 葡萄牙语, 西班牙语(zapata), 意大利语(ciabatta), 阿拉伯语(sabbat) 和巴斯克语(zapata) 中也产生了类似的词.
在法语中, 以及最初在英语中, “故意和恶意破坏财产” 的意思最初是指劳资纠纷, 但经常被重复的故事(与该词在英语中的记录一样古老), 即现代意义来自罢工者所谓的将鞋子扔进机器的策略, 这没有得到词源学的支持. 很可能它并不是作为字面形象的意思, 这个词在法语中被用于各种“碰瓷” 的意思, 比如“把一首音乐弹得很糟糕”. 这也是一些早期用法中给出的解释.
SABOTAGE [chapter heading] The title we have prefixed seems to mean “scamping work.” It is a device which, we are told, has been adopted by certain French workpeople as a substitute for striking. The workman, in other words, purposes to remain on and to do his work badly, so as to annoy his employer's customers and cause loss to his employer. [The Liberty Review, January 1907]
You may believe that sabotage is murder, and so forth, but it is not so at all. Sabotage means giving back to the bosses what they give to us. Sabotage consists in going slow with the process of production when the bosses go slow with the same process in regard to wages. [Arturo M. Giovannitti, quoted in report of the Sagamore Sociological Conference, June 1907]
In English, “malicious mischief” would appear to be the nearest explicit definition of “sabotage,” which is so much more expressive as to be likely of adoption into all languages spoken by nations suffering from this new force in industry and morals. Sabotage has a flavor which is unmistakable even to persons knowing little slang and no French. .. . [Century Magazine, November 1910]