Definition of intercept
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
Detectives have been intercepting her mail.
The police intercepted him as he was walking out.
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
First Known Use: 15th century
Definition of intercept
First Known Use of intercept
Other Telecommunications Terms
INTERCEPT Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of intercept for Students
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.
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>
Seen and Heard
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