Pronounced: EL-drich, adj

Notes: I had some vague ideas about what this may mean — all wrong.

Yesterday’s word

The word interpellate means “to question (as a foreign minister) formally concerning an official action or policy or personal conduct”. It is a form of political challenge used in the congress or parliament of many nations throughout the world; in fact, in some cases, it is provided for in their constitution. In the United States Congress does not practice formal interpellation, so one tends to find this word in international news. Where is it practiced, it is usually the first step in ousting an appointed official or bringing to task an elected one. The word could be thought to be a mispronunciation of ‘interpolate’ (to insert words into a text or conversation).


The word comes from the Latin word interpellatus, the past participle of interpellare (to interrupt or disturb a person speaking). The ‘interrupt’ sense is now obsolete, even though it was once so used.

First usage

The word came into English in the late 1500s

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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