in·​ter·​pel·​late | \ ˌin-tər-ˈpe-ˌlāt How to pronounce interpellate (audio) , in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlāt \
interpellated; interpellating

Definition of interpellate

transitive verb

: to question (someone, such as a foreign minister) formally concerning an official action or policy or personal conduct

Other Words from interpellate

interpellation \ ˌin-​tər-​pə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce interpellate (audio) \ noun
interpellator \ ˌin-​tər-​ˈpe-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce interpellate (audio) , in-​ˈtər-​pə-​ˌlā-​ \ noun

Did you know?

Interpellate is a word you might encounter in the international news section of a newspaper or magazine. It refers to a form of political challenging used in the congress or parliament of many nations throughout the world, in some cases provided for in the country's constitution. Formal interpellation isn't practiced in the U.S. Congress, but in places where it is practiced, it can be the first step in ousting an appointed official or bringing to task an elected one. The word was borrowed from the Latin term interpellatus, past participle of "interpellare," which means "to interrupt or disturb a person speaking." The "interrupt" sense, once used in English, is now obsolete, and "interpellate" should not be confused with "interpolate," which means "to insert words into a text or conversation."

First Known Use of interpellate

1874, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for interpellate

Latin interpellatus, past participle of interpellare to interrupt, from inter- + -pellare (from pellere to drive) — more at felt

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The first known use of interpellate was in 1874

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Cite this Entry

“Interpellate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on interpellate

Britannica English: Translation of interpellate for Arabic Speakers


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