Definition of intercept in English:



[with object]
Pronunciation /ˌɪntəˈsɛpt/
  • 1Obstruct (someone or something) so as to prevent them from continuing to a destination.

    ‘intelligence agencies intercepted a series of telephone calls’
    ‘I intercepted Edward on his way to work’
    • ‘The vehicles were intercepted and stopped by police.’
    • ‘Since they are flying objects nobody from the ground will be able to intercept them and seize the confidential letters.’
    • ‘It seems clear that all offspring should benefit when a parent produces an alarm signal or intercepts a predator and prevents it from reaching the brood.’
    • ‘To prevent rogue servers from intercepting data in transit, the servers themselves should be digitally authenticated before any data is moved between them.’
    • ‘She curtsied and continued forward, intercepting Christopher's mischievous twinkle.’
    • ‘To the fore came satellite imagery and the National Security Agency's capacity to intercept communications.’
    • ‘The other agencies have a similar problem, but NSA is our intelligence-gathering agency that intercepts the airwaves, and they pick up more conversations than any other intelligence-gatherer.’
    • ‘It also said turf wars between police officers, Special Branch units and intelligence agencies were holding back attempts to intercept terrorists.’
    • ‘Until now it has been legally prevented from intercepting communications amongst Canadians within Canada.’
    • ‘The message was intercepted by U.S. intelligence and caused a major political stir in Washington.’
    • ‘It does not, as some people have tried to characterise it, extend the powers of the police, the Security Intelligence Service, or other Government agencies to intercept material.’
    • ‘He could not say when the letter was intercepted or when authorities believe it might have been written.’
    • ‘Trees help prevent flooding by intercepting raindrops on their leaves, branches, and trunks.’
    • ‘Some government agencies intercept satellite and other transmissions.’
    • ‘At points like Green Corner or any of the other intersections along Park Street, a handful of policemen could be seen, wholly incapable of preventing crime or intercepting criminals.’
    • ‘But fortunately, our intelligence were able to intercept his plans to blow up these planes about 8 or 9 years ago, but he has been on the run since then.’
    • ‘Press reports have identified it as a modernization project at the National Security Agency, the agency that intercepts foreign communications.’
    • ‘For example with officers with special signals intelligence abilities, intercepting the communications of others and making their own covert transmissions.’
    • ‘Reports suggest that the joint operation between the United States and Pakistan was planned after American intelligence agents intercepted a satellite phone call from the flat.’
    • ‘And I think gathering the intelligence, getting the pictures, intercepting communications is what we're about right now before we start tossing military force around.’
    stop, head off, cut off
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Physics Cut off or deflect (light or other electromagnetic radiation)
      ‘a second prism can be swung in to intercept the light beam’
      • ‘The beams intercepted one another, forming a brilliant ball of white energy.’
      • ‘This radiation is intercepted and absorbed by the earth's atmosphere most of the time, causing minor problems.’
      • ‘Thus, it must be something that is happening in the atmosphere to intercept solar radiation.’
      • ‘There is essentially a linear relationship between the total dry matter produced by a crop and the radiation intercepted by it.’
      • ‘This light is intercepted by the two tracking detectors, and this provides a means for developing a control for the tracking system.’
    2. 1.2Mathematics (of a line or surface) mark or cut off (part of a space, line, or surface).
      • ‘This is aligned north/south and can be intercepted at various angles.’


Pronunciation /ˈɪntəsɛpt/
  • 1An act or instance of intercepting something.

    ‘he read the file of radio intercepts’
    • ‘And remember, they're on the receiving end right now of a motion that says that these illegal intercepts of attorney-client conversations were improperly handled.’
    • ‘But these officials said they are not certain how reliable the information is and said there are no radio intercepts or other types of evidence to corroborate the reports.’
    • ‘But prosecutors have had to rely on the Bosnian government military for crucial radio intercepts.’
    • ‘We can see what's going on the ground, but the terrorists move around so quickly and so easily that we simply can't follow them with satellites or with telephone intercepts.’
    • ‘We have the ability to read their mail through radio intercepts.’
    • ‘The conversation, revealed by Indian intelligence intercepts last week, was not unique.’
    • ‘The claim has been confirmed by officials in the U.S. embassy in Jakarta who have had access to intercepts of the army's radio communications.’
    • ‘The information allegedly includes both US capabilities for communications intercepts and details of the US military position within Iraq.’
    • ‘The foiled plot rests largely on communication intercepts, known as ‘chatter’, from suspects under surveillance.’
    • ‘If the Commonwealth continues to play politics and refuses to properly allow these telephone intercepts then it does harm the effort against police corruption.’
    • ‘And so they relied increasingly on defectors and technical intelligence - spy satellites and communication intercepts.’
    • ‘He said radio intercepts indicated the attackers had killed eight and wounded more than 15.’
    • ‘And those who monitor intercepts can easily be outwitted.’
    • ‘I'm sure lots of information is there, in files, intercepts, computer memory.’
    • ‘Violations of drug laws and gambling laws were the two most prevalent types of offenses investigated through communications intercepts.’
    • ‘Communications intercepts and other relevant information convinced Washington that an attack had taken place.’
    • ‘The Government says it must suspend the right to a trial, because trials would jeopardise the secret telephone intercepts of the security services.’
    • ‘This is just the ground-based portion of a multilayered missile defense system, which will eventually include space-based and sea launched intercepts.’
    • ‘They knew that the operation was in trouble from intercepts of Japanese radio traffic.’
    • ‘A more sensitive version of the weekly publication that contained material from communications intercepts was called the Situation Summary.’
    1. 1.1Mathematics The point at which a given line cuts a coordinate axis; the value of the coordinate at that point.
      • ‘This relationship is decreasing, with a slope and intercept significantly different from zero.’
      • ‘Likelihood and regression analyses give slightly different estimates of the slope and intercept.’
      • ‘The slope and intercept are calculated by a linear least squares program.’
      • ‘Because the intercept was expected to pass through the origin, it was fixed at zero for each fit.’
      • ‘The intercept of the extrapolated regression line and x-axis was taken to be an estimate of the presentation time.’


Late Middle English (in the senses ‘contain between limits’ and ‘halt (an effect’)): from Latin intercept- ‘caught between’, from the verb intercipere, from inter- ‘between’ + capere ‘take’.