noun in·ter·dict \ ˈin-tər-ˌdikt \
Updated on: 11 Mar 2018

Definition of interdict

1 : a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical censure withdrawing most sacraments and Christian burial from a person or district
2 : a prohibitory decree

Examples of interdict in a Sentence

  1. the church's controversial interdict against the use of birth control devices

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.

Origin and Etymology of interdict

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



verb in·ter·dict \ ˌin-tər-ˈdikt \

Definition of interdict

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 2a
  • interdict drug shipments


play \ˌin-tər-ˈdik-shən\ noun


play \ˌin-tər-ˈdik-tiv\ adjective


play \ˌin-tər-ˈdik-tər\ noun


play \ˌin-tər-ˈdik-t(ə-)rē\ adjective

Examples of interdict in a Sentence

  1. the state legislature moved to interdict the use of radar-detection devices by motorists

  2. federal agents are able to interdict only a small percentage of the narcotic shipments into the country

Recent Examples of interdict from the Web

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

First Known Use of interdict

15th century

Synonym Discussion of 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

Medical Dictionary


noun in·ter·dict \ ˈint-ər-ˌdikt \

medical Definition of interdict

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)

Law Dictionary



noun in·ter·dict \ ˈin-tər-ˌdikt \

legal Definition of interdict

1 : something that prohibits
2 : one that has been interdicted — compare ward



transitive verb in·ter·dict \ ˌin-tər-ˈdikt \

legal Definition of interdict

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

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up interdict? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


a ridiculous act or situation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice-with-tweedle-dee-and-tweedle-dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!