verb \in-ˈtər-prət, -pət\

: to explain the meaning of (something)

: to understand (something) in a specified way

: to perform (something, such as a song or a role) in a way that shows your own thoughts and feelings about it

Full Definition of INTERPRET

transitive verb
:  to explain or tell the meaning of :  present in understandable terms <interpret dreams> <needed help interpreting the results>
:  to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance :  construe <interpret a contract>
:  to represent by means of art :  bring to realization by performance or direction <interprets a role>
intransitive verb
:  to act as an interpreter between speakers of different languages
in·ter·pret·abil·i·ty \-ˌtər-prə-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -pə-tə-\ noun
in·ter·pret·able \-ˈtər-prə-tə-bəl, -pə-tə-\ adjective

Examples of INTERPRET

  1. We need someone to interpret these results for us.
  2. How should we interpret the law?
  3. I interpreted his behavior to mean that he disliked me.
  4. Every actor interprets the role of Hamlet a little differently.


Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French interpreter, from Latin interpretari, from interpret-, interpres agent, negotiator, interpreter
First Known Use: 14th century


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