in·ter·rupt / ˌintəˈrəpt/ • v. [tr.] 1. stop the continuous progress of (an activity or process): the buzzer interrupted his thoughts. ∎ stop (someone speaking) by saying or doing something: “Of course …” Shepherd began, but his son interrupted him | [with direct speech] “Hold on,” he interrupted. 2. break the continuity of (a line or surface): the coastal plain is interrupted by chains of large lagoons. ∎ obstruct (something, esp. a view). DERIVATIVES: in·ter·rupt·i·ble adj. in·ter·rup·tion / -shən/ n. in·ter·rup·tive / -tiv/ adj.
(a) Events occurring on peripheral devices. A processor having initiated a transfer on a peripheral device on behalf of one process may start some other process. When the transfer terminates, the peripheral device will cause an interrupt. See also interrupt I/O.
(b) Voluntary events within processes. A process wishing to use the services of the operating system may use a specific type of interrupt, a supervisor call (SVC), as a means of notifying the supervisor.
(c) Involuntary events within processes. A process that attempts an undefined or prohibited action will cause an interrupt that will notify the supervisor.
(d) Action by operators. An operator wishing to communicate with the supervisor may cause an interrupt.
(e) Timer interrupts. Many systems incorporate a timer that causes interrupts at fixed intervals of time as a means of guaranteeing that the supervisor will be entered periodically.
See also interrupt handler.