in·​ter·​ro·​gate | \ in-ˈter-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce interrogate (audio) , -ˈte-rə- \
interrogated; interrogating

Definition of interrogate

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from interrogate

interrogatee \ in-​ˌter-​ə-​(ˌ)gā-​ˈtē How to pronounce interrogatee (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for interrogate



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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of interrogate in a Sentence

interrogate a prisoner of war interrogated him about where he'd gone the night before
Recent Examples on the Web This tactic seems to interrogate the nature of fiction. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "Ottessa Moshfegh’s Pursuit of Disgust," 23 June 2020 The next day, the Tribunal decides to interrogate Nany and Bayleigh as options to send in against Mattie (if Melissa doesn't want it), and Bananas and Josh convince Melissa to burn an interrogation pick on Dee. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "The Challenge: Total Madness recap: An epic blindside shakes up the game," 11 June 2020 In recent years, Ehrenreich’s work has interrogated the freedoms her fame has brought her. Haley Mlotek, The New Republic, "Barbara Ehrenreich Still Wants to Be Surprised," 1 June 2020 At least twenty independent journalists, a popular YouTube personality, numerous activists, as well as ordinary citizens, have been detained for days, interrogated, and fined in the past three months. Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal," 15 May 2020 And a usually mum Justice Clarence Thomas interrogated lawyers appearing before the court — the third time he’s broken his silence on the bench in a decade. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "Clarence Thomas breaks yearlong silence, asking question in Supreme Court’s first telephonic arguments," 4 May 2020 Charles then interrogates Joan, who decides to leave the country with her diplomatic immunity. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Finally Solves Season 4's Main Mystery," 12 Mar. 2020 The officer who interrogated Irons did so alone and failed to record the conversation. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "W.N.B.A. Star Maya Moore Helped Overturn His Conviction. ‘She Saved My Life.’," 9 Mar. 2020 One of the journalists who has been admonished for taking pictures from her apartment window, and who was interrogated in April and fined for allegedly violating Decree 370, is Mónica Baró Sanchez. Dan Chiasson, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal," 15 May 2020

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.

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First Known Use of interrogate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for interrogate

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

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Time Traveler for interrogate

Time Traveler

The first known use of interrogate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for interrogate

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Interrogate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for interrogate


How to pronounce interrogate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of interrogate

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


in·​ter·​ro·​gate | \ in-ˈter-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce interrogate (audio) \
interrogated; interrogating

Kids Definition of interrogate

: to question thoroughly Police interrogated a suspect.


transitive verb
in·​ter·​ro·​gate | \ in-ˈter-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce interrogate (audio) \
interrogated; interrogating

Legal Definition of interrogate

: 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.

Other Words from interrogate

interrogation \ in-​ˌter-​ə-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce interrogation (audio) \ noun
interrogator \ in-​ˈter-​ə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce interrogator (audio) \ noun

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