Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

interstice

play
noun in·ter·stice \in-ˈtər-stəs\

Simple Definition of interstice

  • : a small space that lies between things : a small break or gap in something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of interstice

plural

interstices

play \-stə-ˌsēz, -stə-səz\
  1. 1 a :  a space that intervenes between things; especially :  one between closely spaced things <interstices of a wall> b :  a gap or break in something generally continuous <the interstices of society> <passages of genuine literary merit in the interstices of the ludicrous … plots — Joyce Carol Oates>

  2. 2 :  a short space of time between events

Examples of interstice in a sentence

  1. <there's an occasional interstice in the tedium, but most of the novel is boring>

  2. <pesky weeds growing in the interstices between the flagstones>



Did You Know?

You don't need to read between the lines to understand the history of interstice; its etymology is plain to see. Interstice derives from the Latin interstitium, which is itself formed from the prefix inter-, meaning "between," and -stes, meaning "standing." Interstices are the cracks and crevices of life, and the word is often used for both the literal and figurative gaps of the world. In modern uses, interstice can even refer to gaps in time or to special niches in the larger expanse of something else. Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould used it, for example, to comment, "Dinosaurs held sway for 100 million years while mammals, all the while, lived as small animals in the interstices of their world."

Origin and Etymology of interstice

Middle English, from Latin interstitium, from inter- + -stit-, -stes standing (as in superstes standing over) — more at superstition


First Known Use: 15th century


Medical Dictionary

interstice

play
noun in·ter·stice \in-ˈtər-stəs\

Medical Definition of interstice

plural

interstices

\-stə-ˌsēz, -stə-səz\play play
  1. :  a space between closely spaced things (as teeth)





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up interstice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the lowest point

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

formless experimental massive frightening
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ