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Borrowed from Latin interceptum, past participle of intercipiō.




intercept (third-person singular simple present intercepts, present participle intercepting, simple past and past participle intercepted)

  1. (transitive) To stop, deflect or divert (something in progress or motion).
    The police intercepted the package of stolen goods while it was in transit.
  2. (transitive, sports) To gain possession of (the ball) in a ball game.
    1. (transitive, American football) Of a defensive player: to steal a pass thrown by the opposing team, gaining possession of the ball.
  3. (transitive, mathematics) To take or comprehend between.
  4. To perform an aeronautical action in which a fighter approaches a suspicious aircraft to escort it away from a prohibited area, or approaches an enemy aircraft to shoot it down.


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intercept (plural intercepts)

  1. An interception of a radio broadcast or a telephone call.
  2. An interception of a missile.
  3. (algebraic geometry) The coordinate of the point at which a curve intersects an axis.
    the y interceptpoint at which a line crosses the y-axis
    • 2012, Alice Kaseberg, Greg Cripe, Peter Wildman, Introductory Algebra: Everyday Explorations, page 278:
      Because the horizontal-axis intercept occurs when y=0 and the vertical-axis intercept occurs when x=0, we can find the intercepts algebraically.
  4. (marketing) A form of market research where consumers are intercepted and interviewed in a retail store or mall.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]

  • (an interception of a radio broadcast or a telephone call): bug