1

intercept

verb in·ter·cept \ ˌin-tər-ˈsept \
Updated on: 17 May 2018

Definition of intercept

1 obsolete : prevent, hinder
2 a : to stop, seize, or interrupt in progress or course or before arrival
b : to receive (a communication or signal directed elsewhere) usually secretly
3 obsolete : to interrupt communication or connection with
4 : to include (part of a curve, surface, or solid) between two points, curves, or surfaces
  • the part of a circumference intercepted between two radii
5 a : to gain possession of (an opponent's pass)
b : to intercept a pass thrown by (an opponent)

Examples of intercept in a Sentence

  1. Detectives have been intercepting her mail.

  2. The police intercepted him as he was walking out.

Recent Examples of intercept from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intercept.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Since the prefix inter means "between", it's not hard to see how intercept was created. Arms shipments coming to a country are sometimes intercepted, but such interceptions can sometimes be understood as acts of war. In football, soccer, and basketball, players try to intercept the ball as it's being passed by the other team. In years gone by, letters and documents being carried between officers or officials were sometimes intercepted when the carrier was caught; today, when these communications are generally electronic, an intercepted e-mail isn't actually stopped, but simply read secretly by a third party.

Origin and Etymology of intercept

Middle English, from Latin interceptus, past participle of intercipere, from inter- + capere to take, seize — more at heave

intercept Synonyms

Synonyms

block, interdict, pick off;

Related Words

capture, catch, collar, corral, grab, seize, snare, snatch, trap;


2

intercept

noun in·ter·cept \ ˈin-tər-ˌsept \

Definition of intercept

1 : the distance from the origin to a point where a graph crosses a coordinate axis
2 : interception; especially : the interception of a missile by an interceptor or of a target by a missile
3 : a message, code, or signal that is intercepted (as by monitoring radio communications)

Recent Examples of intercept from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intercept.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of intercept

1821

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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Other Telecommunications Terms


INTERCEPT Defined for English Language Learners

intercept

Definition of intercept for English Language Learners

  • : to stop and take someone or something that is going from one place to another place before that person or thing gets there

  • sports : to catch or receive (a pass made by an opponent)


INTERCEPT Defined for Kids

intercept

verb in·ter·cept \ ˌin-tər-ˈsept \

Definition of intercept for Students

intercepted; intercepting
1 : to take, seize, or stop before reaching an intended destination
  • intercept a message
2 : to catch (a football) passed by a member of the opposing team

Word Root of intercept

The Latin word capere, meaning “to seize” or “to take,” and its form captus give us the roots cap, capt, and cept. Words from the Latin capere have something to do with taking. To capture is to take something or someone by using force. To accept is to take something willingly. Anyone capable of doing something is able to take on that task.


Law Dictionary

intercept

transitive verb in·ter·cept

legal Definition of intercept

: to receive (a communication or signal directed elsewhere) usually secretly
  • shall not be unlawful…for a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication where such person is a party to the communication
  • U.S. Code

interception

noun


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