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

The trip was widely interpreted as a means for Abe, one of the few leaders with close ties to both the US and Iran, to serve as an interlocutor. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "Everything we don’t know yet about the Gulf tanker explosions," 13 June 2019 Maryam had the ability to quickly perceive the appropriate wavelength of her interlocutor and speak accordingly, a rare quality in a mathematician. Quanta Magazine, "The Beautiful Mathematical Explorations of Maryam Mirzakhani," 24 July 2017 Lebanon’s statement followed a flurry of meetings and contacts in recent weeks between the U.S. and countries that often act as interlocutors with Iran, including Switzerland and Oman. NBC News, "Iran agrees to release U.S. resident jailed for spying: Lebanon," 5 June 2019 According to Sunday’s report, Mr. Kim was accompanied by Kim Yong Chol, the senior North Korean official who he has been sent twice to the White House and who has served as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s primary interlocutor. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, "Kim Jong Un Heads to Hanoi for Meeting With Trump, North Korean State Media Says," 23 Feb. 2019 During those difficult years, his wife, the brilliant Therese Heyne, who would later enjoy a successful career as a novelist (and who plays only a peripheral role in Mr. Goldstein’s story), remained his main interlocutor and confidante. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘Georg Forster’ Review: In Search of Earthly Paradise," 22 Feb. 2019 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

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

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for interlocutor

The first known use of interlocutor was in 1514

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More Definitions for interlocutor



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 take the place or position of

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