What Does Sabotage Have to Do With Shoes?

In French, a sabot is a wooden shoe. Many people believe that the word sabotage originated in the 1800s, when French workers threw their wooden shoes into machinery in order to shut down
factories.

But sabot was also used for the attachments that hold railroad rails to the wooden cross ties. During a railroad strike in France, some workers cut these sabots in order to bring rail lines to a halt.

Today, the word sabotage is used for any deliberate destruction of machinery, railroads, bridges, or other structures, especially by workers or by enemy agents during wartime.

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