Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-têr-lop-êr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A busybody, someone or something that interferes in the affairs of others; an intruder, a gate-crasher.

Notes: If you don't like using interferer because you hear it so seldom, today's word is a likely substitute. This word is the personal noun corresponding to the verb interlope "to intrude upon, to interfere". Two action nouns have been attempted over the centuries, interlopery and interlopation, but they didn't last long.

In Play: Today's word may refer to any type of intruder: "Phil Ander's affair with June McBride was going well until an interloper by the name of William Arami appeared out of nowhere and swept June off her feet." Gate-crashers are, too, intruders: "The summer garden party was going well when Patti Oh noticed several interlopers amidst the invited guests."

Word History: Interloper was first recorded in connection with the Muscovy Company and East India Company, chartered in 1555 and 1600, respectively. These companies were monopolies, so independent traders, called interlopers, were unwelcome intruders. The term is probably Dutch, the language of one of the great trade rivals of the English at that time. It is made up of Latin inter "between" + Dutch loper "runner", from lopen "run". Lopen is a relative of English lope and leap, which in Old English could refer to running. It is also akin to German laufen "to run". (Now let's thank Maude Frickert, far from an interloper, but a welcome contributor of today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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