Etymology
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interfere (v.)

formerly also enterfere, mid-15c., enterferen, "intermingle or mix (different things), interpose," also "to interfere," from Old French enterferer "exchange blows, strike each other," from entre- "between" (see entre-) + ferir "to strike," from Latin ferire "to knock, strike," related to Latin forare "to bore, pierce" (from PIE root *bhorh- "hole"). Compare punch (v.), which has both the senses "to hit" and "to make a hole in").

Figurative sense of "to meddle with, oppose unrightfully" is from 1630s. Related: Interfered; interfering. Modern French interférer is from English.

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interferon (n.)
animal protein, 1957, coined in English from interfere + subatomic particle suffix -on; so called because it "interferes" with the reduplication of viruses.
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interference (n.)
1783, "intermeddling," from interfere on model of difference, etc. In physics, in reference to the mutual action of waves on each other, from 1802, coined in this sense by English scientist Dr. Thomas Young (1773-1829). Telephoning (later broadcasting) sense is from 1887. In chess from 1913; in U.S. football from 1894.
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interferometer (n.)
"instrument for measuring the interference of light waves," 1897, a hybrid from interfere + -meter. Compare interferential (1867), coined on the model of differential. Related: Interferometric; interferometry.
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intermediate (v.)
c. 1600, "to interfere;" 1620s, "to mediate," from inter- "between" + mediate (v.). Related: Intermediated; intermediating.
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tamper (v.)
"meddle, interfere," 1560s, figurative use of tamper "to work in clay, etc., so as to mix it thoroughly," probably originally a variant of temper (v.), which is how it often was spelled at first. Perhaps it is a dialectal workmen's pronunciation. Related: Tampered; tampering.
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intervene (v.)
1580s, "intercept" (obsolete), a back-formation from intervention, or else from Latin intervenire "to come between, intervene; interrupt; stand in the way, oppose, hinder," from inter "between" (see inter-) + venire "to come," from a suffixed form of PIE root *gwa- "to go, come." Sense of "come between, fall or happen between" (of events) is from c. 1600; that of "interfere, interpose oneself between, act mediatorially" is from 1640s. Related: Intervened; intervener; intervening.
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interrupt (v.)
c. 1400, "to interfere with a legal right," from Latin interruptus, past participle of interrumpere "break apart, break off, break through," from inter "between" (see inter-) + rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.), and compare corrupt (adj.)). Meaning "to break into, break in upon, disturb the action of" (especially of speech) is from early 15c. in English (it is also in Latin). Related: Interrupted; interrupting.
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mess (v.)

late 14c., "serve up (food) in portions," from mess (n.). Intransitive meaning "to share a mess, take one's meals in company with others" is from 1701; that of "make a mess of, disorder" is by 1853. Related: Messed; messing. To mess with "interfere, get involved" is by 1903; to mess up "make a mistake, get in trouble" is from 1933 (earlier "make disorderly, make a mess of," by 1892), both originally American English colloquial.

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meddle (v.)

early 14c., "to mingle, blend, mix" (a sense now obsolete), from Old North French medler (Old French mesler, 12c., Modern French mêler) "to mix, mingle, to meddle," from Vulgar Latin *misculare (source of Provençal mesclar, Spanish mezclar, Italian mescolare, meschiare), from Latin miscere "to mix" (from PIE root *meik- "to mix").

From late 14c. as "busy oneself, be concerned with, engage in," and in the disparaging sense of "interfere or take part in inappropriately or impertinently, be officious, make a nuisance of oneself" (the notion is of meddling too much), which is the surviving sense of the word. From mid-14c. to c. 1700 it also was a euphemism for "have sexual intercourse." Related: Meddled; meddling.

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