[ verb in-ter-sept; noun in-ter-sept ]
See synonyms for: interceptintercepted on

verb (used with object)
  1. to take, seize, or halt (someone or something on the way from one place to another); cut off from an intended destination: to intercept a messenger.

  2. to see or overhear (a message, transmission, etc., meant for another): We intercepted the enemy's battle plan.

  1. to stop or check (passage, travel, etc.): to intercept the traitor's escape.

  2. Sports. to take possession of (a ball or puck) during an attempted pass by an opposing team.

  3. to stop or interrupt the course, progress, or transmission of.

  4. to destroy or disperse (enemy aircraft or a missile or missiles) in the air on the way to a target.

  5. to stop the natural course of (light, water, etc.).

  6. Mathematics. to mark off or include, as between two points or lines.

  7. to intersect.

  8. Obsolete. to prevent or cut off the operation or effect of.

  9. Obsolete. to cut off from access, sight, etc.

  1. an interception.

  2. Mathematics.

    • an intercepted segment of a line.

    • (in a coordinate system) the distance from the origin to the point at which a curve or line intersects an axis.

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

Other words from intercept

  • in·ter·cep·tive, adjective
  • non·in·ter·cept·ing, adjective
  • non·in·ter·cep·tive, adjective
  • un·in·ter·cept·ed, adjective
  • un·in·ter·cept·ing, adjective

Words Nearby intercept Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use intercept in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for intercept


verb(ˌɪntəˈsɛpt) (tr)
  1. to stop, deflect, or seize on the way from one place to another; prevent from arriving or proceeding

  2. sport to seize or cut off (a pass) on its way from one opponent to another

  1. maths to cut off, mark off, or bound (some part of a line, curve, plane, or surface)

  1. maths

    • a point at which two figures intersect

    • the distance from the origin to the point at which a line, curve, or surface cuts a coordinate axis

    • an intercepted segment

  2. sport, US and Canadian the act of intercepting an opponent's pass

Origin of intercept

C16: from Latin intercipere to seize before arrival, from inter- + capere to take

Derived forms of intercept

  • interception, noun
  • interceptive, adjective

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′ ]

  1. 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.