[ verb in-ter-sept; noun in-ter-sept ]
/ verb ˌɪn tərˈsɛpt; noun ˈɪn tərˌsɛpt /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: intercept / intercepted on Thesaurus.com

Definition of intercept

verb (used with object)
an interception.
  1. an intercepted segment of a line.
  2. (in a coordinate system) the distance from the origin to the point at which a curve or line intersects an axis.
"Is" it time for a new quiz? "Are" you ready? Then prove your excellent skills on using "is" vs. "are."
Question 1 of 7
IS and ARE are both forms of which verb?

Origin of intercept

First recorded in 1535–45; from Latin interceptus, past participle of intercipere “to intercept,” equivalent to inter- “between, among, together” + -cep- (combining form of cap-, stem of capere “to take”) + -tus past participle suffix; see inter-; cf. incipient


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use intercept in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for intercept


verb (ˌɪntəˈsɛpt) (tr)
to stop, deflect, or seize on the way from one place to another; prevent from arriving or proceeding
sport to seize or cut off (a pass) on its way from one opponent to another
maths to cut off, mark off, or bound (some part of a line, curve, plane, or surface)
noun (ˈɪntəˌsɛpt)
  1. a point at which two figures intersect
  2. the distance from the origin to the point at which a line, curve, or surface cuts a coordinate axis
  3. an intercepted segment
sport, US and Canadian the act of intercepting an opponent's pass

Derived forms of intercept

interception, nouninterceptive, adjective

Word Origin for intercept

C16: from Latin intercipere to seize before arrival, from inter- + capere to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for intercept

[ ĭntər-sĕpt′ ]

In a Cartesian coordinate system, the coordinate of a point at which a line, curve, or surface intersects a coordinate axis. If a curve intersects the x-axis at (4,0), then 4 is the curve's x-intercept; if the curve intersects the y-axis at (0,2), then 2 is its y-intercept.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.