Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
July 3rd, 2015
Episode 245 of 681 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 03, 2015 is: interpellate \in-ter-PELL-ayt\ verb : to question (someone, such as a foreign minister) formally concerning an official action or policy or personal conduct Examples: At the international tribunal, U.N. officials interpellated the premier about his country's acquisition of illegal weapons. "The group noted that Mr. Lotilla was being interpellated at the time by Rep. Elpidio F. Barzaga, Jr., a member of the majority bloc who supported the fare hike." Melissa Luz T. Lopez and Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato, Business World, January 23, 2015 Did you know? Interpellate is a word you might encounter in the international news section of a newspaper or magazine. It refers to a form of political challenging used in the congress or parliament of many nations throughout the world, in some cases provided for in the country's constitution. Formal interpellation isn't practiced in the U.S. Congress, but in places where it is practiced, it can be the first step in ousting an appointed official or bringing to task an elected one. The word was borrowed from the Latin term interpellatus, past participle of interpellare, which means "to interrupt or disturb a person speaking." The "interrupt" sense, once used in English, is now obsolete, and interpellate should not be confused with interpolate, which means "to insert words into a text or conversation."