interdict

1 of 2

noun

in·​ter·​dict ˈin-tər-ˌdikt How to pronounce interdict (audio)
1
: a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical censure withdrawing most sacraments and Christian burial from a person or district
2
: a prohibitory decree

interdict

2 of 2

verb

in·​ter·​dict ˌin-tər-ˈdikt How to pronounce interdict (audio)
interdicted; interdicting; interdicts

transitive verb

1
: to lay under or prohibit by an interdict
2
: to forbid in a usually formal or authoritative manner
3
a
: to destroy, damage, or cut off (something, such as an enemy line of supply) by firepower to stop or hamper an enemy
b
: intercept sense 1a
interdict drug shipments
interdiction noun
interdictive adjective
interdictor noun
interdictory adjective

Did you know?

Interdict and interdiction are used for very serious prohibitions—more serious than, say, a professor telling the class that texting is forbidden during lectures. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, an interdict was a sentence imposed by the powerful Catholic Church forbidding a person or place, and sometimes even an entire country, from receiving church privileges or participating in church functions. Interdict now often means "cut off" in a physically forceful way as well; interdictions are usually targeted at either arms supplies or illegal drug shipments.

Choose the Right Synonym for interdict

forbid, prohibit, interdict, inhibit mean to debar one from doing something or to order that something not be done.

forbid implies that the order is from one in authority and that obedience is expected.

smoking is forbidden in the building

prohibit suggests the issuing of laws, statutes, or regulations.

prohibited the sale of liquor

interdict implies prohibition by civil or ecclesiastical authority usually for a given time or a declared purpose.

practices interdicted by the church

inhibit implies restraints or restrictions that amount to prohibitions, not only by authority but also by the exigencies of the time or situation.

conditions inhibiting the growth of free trade

Examples of interdict in a Sentence

Noun the church's controversial interdict against the use of birth control devices Verb the state legislature moved to interdict the use of radar-detection devices by motorists federal agents are able to interdict only a small percentage of the narcotic shipments into the country
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
While the effort to interdict migrants, including traffickers in fentanyl, continues, another topic Texas is only slowly beginning to discuss is how to make more widely available some potentially life-saving devices – fentanyl test strips. Dallas News, 28 Apr. 2022 Environmental and community groups in South Africa's Eastern Cape province won an urgent interdict to stop the surveys in December last year and are now asking the court to permanently halt the operations. Mogomotsi Magome, ajc, 2 June 2022 South African Revenue Service Commissioner Tom Moyane will seek a legal interdict against Cyril Ramaphosa if the president does not stop trying to remove him from the tax agency, according to people familiar with the matter. Paul Vecchiatto, Bloomberg.com, 19 Mar. 2018
Verb
Until now, the only American military deaths in the region since Oct. 7 came not under fire but during an operation in the Arabian Sea to interdict Iranian weapons to the Houthis. Peter Baker, New York Times, 28 Jan. 2024 This is interdicting the parents before the kids get older. Dan Gelston, Anchorage Daily News, 9 June 2023 The United States is also spearheading a separate coalition to patrol regional waterways, dubbed Operation Prosperity Guardian, and is conducting operations attempting to interdict weapons smuggling. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2024 In these same photos, their genitals have been blurred, interdicted by Photoshop. Jordan Castro, Harper's Magazine, 5 Jan. 2024 Under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, America has interdicted weapon shipments from Iran to the Houthis. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2024 Even as that insurgent militia crippled international shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and drafted Western naval assets into a full-time effort to interdict its attacks, the Houthis faced no repercussions. The Editors, National Review, 12 Jan. 2024 President Bill Clinton argued that the shift — sending back Cubans interdicted at sea — was necessary to dissuade Cubans from attempting the dangerous crossing to Florida. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2023 The agency has created a pilot program geared toward interdicting fentanyl leaving Canada toward the United States, Australia and New Zealand. David Ovalle and Nick Miroff The Washington Post, arkansasonline.com, 25 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'interdict.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, alteration of entredite, from Anglo-French, from Latin interdictum prohibition, from neuter of interdictus, past participle of interdicere to interpose, forbid, from inter- + dicere to say — more at diction

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of interdict was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near interdict

Cite this Entry

“Interdict.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interdict. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

interdict

1 of 2 noun
in·​ter·​dict ˈint-ər-ˌdikt How to pronounce interdict (audio)
1
: a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical withdrawal of sacraments and Christian burial from a person or district
2

interdict

2 of 2 verb
in·​ter·​dict ˌint-ər-ˈdikt How to pronounce interdict (audio)
: to prohibit or forbid especially by an interdict
interdiction noun

Medical Definition

interdict

noun
in·​ter·​dict ˈint-ər-ˌdikt How to pronounce interdict (audio)
civil law
: one who has been determined to be incompetent to care for his or her own person or affairs (as by reason of mental incapacity)

Legal Definition

interdict

1 of 2 noun
in·​ter·​dict ˈin-tər-ˌdikt How to pronounce interdict (audio)
1
: something that prohibits
2
: one that has been interdicted compare ward

interdict

2 of 2 transitive verb
in·​ter·​dict ˌin-tər-ˈdikt How to pronounce interdict (audio)
1
in the civil law of Louisiana : to deprive (a person) of the right to care for one's own person or affairs because of mental incapacity compare commit, curator, tutor
2
: to authoritatively prohibit or bar (an act or conduct)
3
: to intercept or cut off (as a drug shipment) by force

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