Definition of intercept in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌin(t)ərˈsept/
[with object]
1Obstruct (someone or something) so as to prevent them from continuing to a destination: intelligence agencies intercepted a series of telephone calls I intercepted Ed on his way to work
More example sentences
  • Until now it has been legally prevented from intercepting communications amongst Canadians within Canada.
  • To the fore came satellite imagery and the National Security Agency's capacity to intercept communications.
  • The other agencies have a similar problem, but NSA is our intelligence-gathering agency that intercepts the airwaves, and they pick up more conversations than any other intelligence-gatherer.
stop, head off, cut off;
catch, seize, grab, snatch;
obstruct, impede, interrupt, block, check, detain;
ambush, challenge, waylay
1.1 American Football (Of a defensive player) catch a forward pass.
1.2chiefly Physics Cut off or deflect (light or other electromagnetic radiation).
Example sentences
  • There is essentially a linear relationship between the total dry matter produced by a crop and the radiation intercepted by it.
  • This light is intercepted by the two tracking detectors, and this provides a means for developing a control for the tracking system.
  • Thus, it must be something that is happening in the atmosphere to intercept solar radiation.
1.3 Mathematics (Of a line or surface) mark or cut off (part of a space, line, or surface).
Example sentences
  • This is aligned north/south and can be intercepted at various angles.


Pronunciation: /ˈin(t)ərsept/
1An act or instance of intercepting something: he read the file of radio intercepts
More example sentences
  • They knew that the operation was in trouble from intercepts of Japanese radio traffic.
  • But these officials said they are not certain how reliable the information is and said there are no radio intercepts or other types of evidence to corroborate the reports.
  • We have the ability to read their mail through radio intercepts.
1.1 Mathematics The point at which a given line cuts a coordinate axis; the value of the coordinate at that point.
Example sentences
  • The intercept of the extrapolated regression line and x-axis was taken to be an estimate of the presentation time.
  • Because the intercept was expected to pass through the origin, it was fixed at zero for each fit.
  • This relationship is decreasing, with a slope and intercept significantly different from zero.



Pronunciation: /ˌin(t)ərˈseptiv/
Example sentences
  • Likewise he has been a colossal force throughout this campaign and his interceptive vision has been an important factor in their progress.
  • His first came from a tight angle on the right, his second after great interceptive play.
  • ‘This work demonstrates the use of simple control mechanisms that utilize invariant geometric properties to accomplish interceptive tasks,’ the researchers conclude.


Late Middle English (in the senses 'contain between limits' and 'halt (an effect)'): from Latin intercept- 'caught between', from the verb intercipere, from inter- 'between' + capere 'take'.

  • capable from mid 16th century:

    The first recorded sense of this was ‘able to take in’, physically or mentally. It comes from Latin capere ‘take or hold’ which is found in many other English words including: accept (Late Middle English) from ad- ‘to’ and capere; anticipation (Late Middle English) ‘acting or taking in advance’; capacity (Late Middle English) ‘ability to hold’; caption (Late Middle English) originally an act of capture; captive (Late Middle English); catch (Middle English); chase (Middle English); conceive (Middle English) literally ‘take together’; except (Late Middle English) ‘take out of’; incapacity (early 17th century) inability to hold; intercept (Late Middle English) to take between; perceive (Middle English) to hold entirely; prince; receive (Middle English) ‘take back’; susceptible (early 17th century) literally ‘that can be taken from below’.

Words that rhyme with intercept

accept, crept, except, incept, inept, kept, leapt, overleaped, sept, slept, swept, upswept, wept, yclept

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·ter·cept

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