[verb in-ter-sept; noun in-ter-sept]
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.
  3. to stop or check (passage, travel, etc.): to intercept the traitor's escape.
  4. Sports. to take possession of (a ball or puck) during an attempted pass by an opposing team.
  5. to stop or interrupt the course, progress, or transmission of.
  6. to destroy or disperse (enemy aircraft or a missile or missiles) in the air on the way to a target.
  7. to stop the natural course of (light, water, etc.).
  8. Mathematics. to mark off or include, as between two points or lines.
  9. to intersect.
  10. Obsolete. to prevent or cut off the operation or effect of.
  11. Obsolete. to cut off from access, sight, etc.
  1. an interception.
  2. Mathematics.
    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.

Origin of intercept

1535–45; < Latin interceptus past participle of intercipere, equivalent to inter- inter- + -cep- (combining form of cap-, stem of capere to take) + -tus past participle suffix; cf. incipient
Related formsin·ter·cep·tive, adjectivenon·in·ter·cept·ing, adjectivenon·in·ter·cep·tive, adjectiveun·in·ter·cept·ed, adjectiveun·in·ter·cept·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for interceptive

Historical Examples of interceptive

  • She did not look at him, but this was better than meeting his eye with that interceptive glance.

    Indian Summer

    William D. Howells

British Dictionary definitions for interceptive


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
  3. maths to cut off, mark off, or bound (some part of a line, curve, plane, or surface)
noun (ˈɪntəˌsɛpt)
  1. maths
    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
  2. sport, US and Canadian the act of intercepting an opponent's pass
Derived Formsinterception, 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

Word Origin and History for interceptive



c.1400, from Latin interceptus, past participle of intercipere "take or seize between, to seize in passing," from inter- "between" (see inter-) + -cipere, comb. form of capere "to take, catch" (see capable). Related: Intercepted; intercepting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

interceptive in Science


  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.