February 28th, 2021

words 6
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Sunday Word: Interlocutor

interlocutor[in-ter-lok-yuh-ter]

noun:
1 one who takes part in dialogue or conversation
2 the performer in a minstrel show who is placed midway between the end men and engages in banter with them.

Examples:

Especially during a pandemic when my primary interlocutor right now is an eight-year-old - we’re a small family of three.(Emily Chan, Naomi Klein on How We Can Help Young People Save the World, CounterPunch, February 2021)

By alternating between being an interlocutor and interpreter, magician and realist, she dissects the psyches of ordinary people and their potential for good and evil with chilling understatement and lasting power. ('Faithless' by Joyce Carol Oates comes to Iranian bookstores, Tehran Times, February 2021)

"I listen, Captain," said I, not knowing what my interlocutor was driving at, and asking myself if this incident was bearing on our projected flight. (Jules Verne20,000 Leagues Under The Sea)

Origin:

1510s, 'one who speaks in a dialogue or conversation,' agent noun from Latin interlocut-, past participle stem of interloqui 'speak between; interrupt,' from inter 'between' + loqui 'to speak' (from PIE root tolkw- 'to speak') (Online Etymology Dictionary)

Interlocutor derives from the Latin interloqui, meaning 'to speak between' or 'to issue an interlocutory decree.' (An interlocutory decree is a court judgment that comes in the middle of a case and is not decisive.) Interloqui, in turn, ultimately comes from the words inter-, 'between,' and loqui, 'to speak.' Some other words that English borrowed from loqui are loquacious ('talkative'), circumlocution (essentially, 'talking around a subject'), ventriloquism ('talking in such a way that one's voice seems to come from someone or something else'), eloquent ('capable of fluent or vivid speech'), and grandiloquence ('extravagant or pompous speech'). (Merriam-Webster)