Word of the Day

interpellate

audio pronunciation
July 03, 2015
verb
\in-ter-PELL-ayt\
Definition
: to question (someone, such as a foreign minister) formally concerning an official action or policy or personal conduct
Examples
At the international tribunal, U.N. officials interpellated the premier about his country's acquisition of illegal weapons. "The group noted that Mr. Lotilla was being interpellated at the time by Rep. Elpidio F. Barzaga, Jr., a member of the majority bloc who supported the fare hike." — Melissa Luz T. Lopez and Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato, Business World, January 23, 2015
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
Interpellate is a word you might encounter in the international news section of a newspaper or magazine. It refers to a form of political challenging used in the congress or parliament of many nations throughout the world, in some cases provided for in the country's constitution. Formal interpellation isn't practiced in the U.S. Congress, but in places where it is practiced, it can be the first step in ousting an appointed official or bringing to task an elected one. The word was borrowed from the Latin term interpellatus, past participle of interpellare, which means "to interrupt or disturb a person speaking." The "interrupt" sense, once used in English, is now obsolete, and interpellate should not be confused with interpolate, which means "to insert words into a text or conversation."

Test Your Memory: What rhetorical device did President John F. Kennedy use when he inverted the typical positive-to-negative parallelism in his famous line "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country" (our June 24th Word of the Day)? The answer is …
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears