in·​ter·​loc·​u·​tor | \ ˌin-tər-ˈlä-kyə-tər How to pronounce interlocutor (audio) \

Definition of interlocutor

1 : one who takes part in dialogue or conversation
2 : a man in the middle of the line in a minstrel show who questions the end men and acts as leader

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Did You Know?

Interlocutor derives from the Latin interloqui, meaning "to speak between" or "to issue an interlocutory decree." (An interlocutory decree is a court judgment that comes in the middle of a case and is not decisive.) Interloqui, in turn, ultimately comes from the words inter-, "between," and loqui, "to speak." Some other words that English borrowed from loqui are loquacious ("talkative"), circumlocution (essentially, "talking around a subject"), ventriloquism ("talking in such a way that one's voice seems to come from someone or something else"), eloquent ("capable of fluent or vivid speech"), and grandiloquence ("extravagant or pompous speech").

Examples of interlocutor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And ultimately, that relationship doesn’t lie in the hands of South Koreans, but with the American and North Korean interlocutors. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "As Pompeo visits Pyongyang, South Korea quietly watches — and worries," 6 July 2018 The following day, the leader’s younger sister and the main interlocutor in the South, Kim Yo Jong, told her brother about the visit before locking arms with him for a photo. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "The leaders of both Koreas feel like they won gold medals this week," 16 Feb. 2018 One problem for the EU is that its Italian interlocutors, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, are politically weak appointees. Paul Hannon, WSJ, "Italy Tries to End Budget Fight With EU as Economy Teeters on Recession," 5 Dec. 2018 And whereas Jordan used to be an interlocutor with Israel, Gulf states now talk directly (if discreetly) to their former foe. The Economist, "Unstable neighbours and bad policy are just two of Jordan’s problems," 28 Apr. 2018 The subtext was there in flashing neon letters: How could a professional interlocutor, someone with decades of experience separating fact from fiction, get taken for such a ride? Abby Ellin, Marie Claire, "I Almost Married a Con Man," 8 Jan. 2019 Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was set to meet his primary North Korean interlocutor, senior official Kim Yong Chol, before the meeting was abruptly canceled by the North Koreans. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "North Korea Keeping Up Work on Missile Sites, Report Says," 12 Nov. 2018 And for better or worse, Trump has chosen Saudi Arabia as its main interlocutor and leading Arab ally in confronting Tehran. Souad Mekhennet, The Seattle Times, "Nations fear fallout could trigger instability in the region," 23 Oct. 2018 The 47-year-old Cruz, who has been known since his Princeton debate team days as a gleefully caustic interlocutor, clearly arrived in the meeting chamber in the Hart Senate Office Building with a plan of attack. Nash Jenkins, Time, "The Mark Zuckerberg vs. Ted Cruz Showdown Was the Most Explosive Part of Today's Facebook Testimony," 10 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of interlocutor

1514, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for interlocutor

Latin interloqui to speak between, issue an interlocutory decree, from inter- + loqui to speak

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Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for interlocutor

The first known use of interlocutor was in 1514

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English Language Learners Definition of interlocutor

formal : a person who is having a conversation with you

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More from Merriam-Webster on interlocutor

Spanish Central: Translation of interlocutor

Britannica English: Translation of interlocutor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about interlocutor

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