verb in·ter·ro·gate \ in-ˈter-ə-ˌgāt , -ˈte-rə- \
Updated on: 17 Mar 2018

Definition of interrogate

interrogated; interrogating
1 : to question formally and systematically
2 : to give or send out a signal to (a device, such as a transponder) for triggering an appropriate response


play \in-ˌter-ə-(ˌ)gā-ˈtē\ noun


play \in-ˌter-ə-ˈgā-shən\ noun


play \in-ˌter-ə-ˈgā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

Examples of interrogate in a Sentence

  1. interrogate a prisoner of war

  2. interrogated him about where he'd gone the night before

Recent Examples of interrogate from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of interrogate

Latin interrogatus, past participle of interrogare, from inter- + rogare to ask — more at right

interrogate Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of interrogate

ask, question, interrogate, query, inquire mean to address a person in order to gain information. ask implies no more than the putting of a question.
    • ask for directions
question usually suggests the asking of series of questions.
    • questioned them about every detail of the trip
interrogate suggests formal or official systematic questioning.
    • the prosecutor interrogated the witness all day
query implies a desire for authoritative information or confirmation.
    • queried a librarian about the book
inquire implies a searching for facts or for truth often specifically by asking questions.
    • began to inquire of friends and teachers what career she should pursue

Other Aeronautics/Aerospace Terms

INTERROGATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of interrogate for English Language Learners

  • : to ask (someone) questions in a thorough and often forceful way

INTERROGATE Defined for Kids


verb in·ter·ro·gate \ in-ˈter-ə-ˌgāt \

Definition of interrogate for Students

interrogated; interrogating
: to question thoroughly
  • Police interrogated a suspect.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb in·ter·ro·gate \ in-ˈter-ə-ˌgāt \

legal Definition of interrogate

interrogated; interrogating
: to question formally and systematically; especially : to gather information from (a suspect) by means that are reasonably likely to elicit incriminating responses — see also miranda rights
Note: Under Rhode Island v. Innis, 446 U.S. 291 (1980), interrogating includes not just express questioning, but also any words or actions that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response. Asking questions that are normally asked in the course of arrest or booking (such as questions about name or age) is not considered interrogation.


play \in-ˌter-ə-ˈgā-shən\ noun


play \in-ˈter-ə-ˌgā-tər\ noun

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