Definition of intercept in English:


See synonyms for intercept

Translate intercept into Spanish

transitive verb

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

    ‘intelligence agencies intercepted a series of telephone calls’
    • ‘I intercepted Ed on his way to work’
    • ‘Until now it has been legally prevented from intercepting communications amongst Canadians within Canada.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To prevent rogue servers from intercepting data in transit, the servers themselves should be digitally authenticated before any data is moved between them.’
    • ‘Trees help prevent flooding by intercepting raindrops on their leaves, branches, and trunks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She curtsied and continued forward, intercepting Christopher's mischievous twinkle.’
    • ‘Some government agencies intercept satellite and other transmissions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The message was intercepted by U.S. intelligence and caused a major political stir in Washington.’
    • ‘He could not say when the letter was intercepted or when authorities believe it might have been written.’
    stop, head off, cut off
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1American Football (of a defensive player) catch a forward pass.
    2. 1.2Physics Cut off or deflect (light or other electromagnetic radiation)
      ‘a second prism can be swung in to intercept the light beam’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Thus, it must be something that is happening in the atmosphere to intercept solar radiation.’
      • ‘This radiation is intercepted and absorbed by the earth's atmosphere most of the time, causing minor problems.’
      • ‘The beams intercepted one another, forming a brilliant ball of white energy.’
    3. 1.3Mathematics (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.’



/ˌin(t)ərˈsept/ /ˌɪn(t)ərˈsɛpt/


  • 1An act or instance of intercepting something.

    ‘he read the file of radio intercepts’
    • ‘They knew that the operation was in trouble from intercepts of Japanese radio traffic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We have the ability to read their mail through radio intercepts.’
    • ‘But prosecutors have had to rely on the Bosnian government military for crucial radio intercepts.’
    • ‘He said radio intercepts indicated the attackers had killed eight and wounded more than 15.’
    • ‘Violations of drug laws and gambling laws were the two most prevalent types of offenses investigated through communications intercepts.’
    • ‘And so they relied increasingly on defectors and technical intelligence - spy satellites and communication intercepts.’
    • ‘The foiled plot rests largely on communication intercepts, known as ‘chatter’, from suspects under surveillance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Communications intercepts and other relevant information convinced Washington that an attack had taken place.’
    • ‘A more sensitive version of the weekly publication that contained material from communications intercepts was called the Situation Summary.’
    • ‘I'm sure lots of information is there, in files, intercepts, computer memory.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is just the ground-based portion of a multilayered missile defense system, which will eventually include space-based and sea launched 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.’
    • ‘And those who monitor intercepts can easily be outwitted.’
    • ‘If the Commonwealth continues to play politics and refuses to properly allow these telephone intercepts then it does harm the effort against police corruption.’
    • ‘The Government says it must suspend the right to a trial, because trials would jeopardise the secret telephone intercepts of the security services.’
    • ‘The conversation, revealed by Indian intelligence intercepts last week, was not unique.’
    1. 1.1Mathematics The point at which a given line cuts a coordinate axis; the value of the coordinate at that point.
      ‘The intercept of the extrapolated regression line and x-axis was taken to be an estimate of the presentation time.’
      • ‘Because the intercept was expected to pass through the origin, it was fixed at zero for each fit.’
      • ‘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.’



/ˈin(t)ərsept/ /ˈɪn(t)ərsɛpt/


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’.