Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Interlocutor


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is interlocutor. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Interlocutor is a formal word that means “one who takes part in dialogue or conversation.”

// It is crucial in our age of e-mail scams to verify the validity of one’s online interlocutors before sharing sensitive information.


“The Turing Test is a test of intelligence, sentience, consciousness and self-awareness. A machine passes the Turing Test if it can convince a human interlocutor that it is sentient.” — Leon Gordon, Forbes, 11 July 2022

Did You Know?

It may not necessarily be grandiloquence to use the word interlocutor in casual speech, but if your interlocutors—that is, the people with whom you are speaking—are using it, your conversation is likely a formal one. Interlocutor is one of many English words that comes from the Latin verb loqui, “to speak,” including loquacious (“talkative”), eloquent (“capable of fluent or vivid speech”), and grandiloquence (“extravagant or pompous speech”). In interlocutor, loqui was joined to inter- forming a Latin word meaning “to speak between” or “to issue an interlocutory decree.” An interlocutory decree is a judicial decision that isn’t final, or that deals with a point other than the principal subject matter of the dispute.

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