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From Latin interpellō.



interpellate (third-person singular simple present interpellates, present participle interpellating, simple past and past participle interpellated)

  1. (obsolete) To interrupt (someone) so as to inform or question (that person about something).
  2. (philosophy) To address (a person) in a way that presupposes a particular identification of them; to give (a person) an identity (which may or may not be accurate).
    • 1996, The Cambridge History of American Literature, volume 8, Poetry and criticism, 1940-1995 (edited by Sacvan Bercovitch), page 408:
      [] a Master of Ceremonies' words "Ladies and gentlemen" [] interpellates those being addressed as an audience, and one that is differentiated by gender.
    • 2002, Marianne Jørgensen, Louise J. Phillips, Discourse Analysis As Theory and Method, page 41:
      [] the question may be whether the individual should let herself be interpellated as a feminist, a Christian or a worker. Perhaps all of these possibilities seem attractive, but they point in different directions []
    • 2009, Samia Bazzi, Arab News and Conflict: A Multidisciplinary Discourse Study:
      [] whereas the Palestinian subjects are interpellated as: the martyr... a young Palestinian... a Palestinian teenager.
  3. (transitive, chiefly politics) To question (someone) formally concerning official or governmental policy or business.

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