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 Oman, a sultanate on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, has served as an interlocutor between Iran and the U.S. in the past. Jon Gambrell,, "Iran state TV acknowledges security forces killed people – calling them ‘rioters’ – during protests over gas prices," 3 Dec. 2019 Roebuck has been an important interlocutor with Mazlum Kobani, the Syrian Kurdish military commander whose fighters have worked closely with American Special Operations forces to combat the Islamic State., "WASHINGTON — The top American diplomat on the ground in northern Syria has criticized the Trump administration for not trying harder to prevent Turkey’s military offensive there last month — and said Turkish-backed militia fighters committed “war crimes and ethnic cleansing.”," 8 Nov. 2019 Turkey took particular offense at Mr. Abdi, the Syrian commander who became the Americans’ main interlocutor. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, "As Kurds Tracked ISIS Leader, U.S. Withdrawal Threw Raid Into Turmoil," 29 Oct. 2019 In Japan, Canada and Latin America the trade commissioner has found like-minded interlocutors who share the EU’s commitment to free trade and are smaller than the EU (and therefore relatively pliant negotiating partners). The Economist, "Why Europe should take the lead on trade," 12 Sep. 2019 Actually, Xi Jinping didn't even like Kim because Kim killed Jang Song Thaek, the second most powerful man in North Korea, his uncle who was an interlocutor with the Chinese. CBS News, "Transcript: North Korea expert Sue Mi Terry talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 20 Nov. 2019 He was given a friendly interlocutor, in the person of Cass Sunstein, a legal scholar who has consulted for Facebook. The Economist, "Inside Aspen: the mountain retreat for the liberal elite," 11 Oct. 2019 Your interlocutor should become thoroughly unnerved, and murmur something to cover a retreat. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: Their comments about my daughters offend me," 23 Sep. 2019 Trump’s interlocutor this time was Turkey, not Ukraine. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "Turkey-U.S. relationship was fraught even before flap over America’s Kurdish allies," 9 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for interlocutor

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The first known use of interlocutor was in 1514

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Interlocutor.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for interlocutor


How to pronounce interlocutor (audio)

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

Comments on interlocutor

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


to insert between existing elements

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