• synonyms


[in-ter-pel-eyt, in-tur-puh-leyt]
verb (used with object), in·ter·pel·lat·ed, in·ter·pel·lat·ing.
  1. to call formally upon (a minister or member of a government) in interpellation.
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Origin of interpellate

1590–1600; < Latin interpellātus past participle of interpellāre to interrupt, equivalent to inter- inter- + -pellā(re) to speak + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsin·ter·pel·la·tor [in-ter-puh-ley-ter, in-tur-puh-ley-] /ˈɪn tər pəˌleɪ tər, ɪnˈtɜr pəˌleɪ-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for interpellate

Historical Examples

  • Leave to interpellate will certainly be asked for this afternoon.

    The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete

    Emile Zola

  • He was accustomed now to so many stops, that he felt surprised when nobody rose to interpellate.

    Cradock Nowell, Vol. 1 (of 3)

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore

  • In 1885 several deputies, calling themselves Socialists, began to interpellate the ministry on the labor questions.

  • I should thus have been enabled, for a few moments, to interpellate a god on things of the other world.

British Dictionary definitions for interpellate


  1. (tr) parliamentary procedure (in European legislatures) to question (a member of the government) on a point of government policy, often interrupting the business of the day
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Derived Formsinterpellation, nouninterpellator, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin interpellāre to disturb, from inter- + pellere to push
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 interpellate


1590s, from Latin interpellatus, past participle of interpellare "to interrupt by speaking" (see interpellation). Related: Interpellated; interpellating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper