We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.


verb in·ter·vene \ˌin-tər-ˈvēn\

: to come or occur between two times or events

: to become involved in something (such as a conflict) in order to have an influence on what happens

: to happen as an unrelated event that causes a delay or problem


Full Definition of INTERVENE

intransitive verb
:  to occur, fall, or come between points of time or events <only six months intervened between their marriage and divorce>
:  to enter or appear as an irrelevant or extraneous feature or circumstance <it's business as usual until a crisis intervenes>
a :  to come in or between by way of hindrance or modification <intervene to stop a fight>
b :  to interfere with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process (as to prevent harm or improve functioning)
:  to occur or lie between two things
a :  to become a third party to a legal proceeding begun by others for the protection of an alleged interest
b :  to interfere usually by force or threat of force in another nation's internal affairs especially to compel or prevent an action
in·ter·ven·tion \-ˈven(t)-shən\ noun
in·ter·ven·tion·al \-ˈvench-nəl, ˈven(t)-shə-nəl\ adjective

Examples of INTERVENE

  1. Twenty years intervened between their first and last meetings.
  2. The prisoner asked me to intervene with the authorities on his behalf.
  3. The military had to intervene to restore order.
  4. We will leave on time unless some crisis intervenes.


Latin intervenire to come between, from inter- + venire to come — more at come
First Known Use: 1587

Synonym Discussion of INTERVENE

interpose, interfere, intervene, mediate, intercede mean to come or go between. interpose often implies no more than this <interposed herself between him and the door>. interfere implies hindering <noise interfered with my concentration>. intervene may imply an occurring in space or time between two things or a stepping in to stop a conflict <quarreled until the manager intervened>. mediate implies intervening between hostile factions <mediated between the parties>. intercede implies acting for an offender in begging mercy or forgiveness <interceded on our behalf>.
INTERVENTION Defined for Kids


verb in·ter·vene \ˌin-tər-ˈvēn\

Definition of INTERVENE for Kids

:  to come or occur between events, places, or points of time <One week intervened between games.>
:  to interfere with something so as to stop, settle, or change <I intervened in their quarrel.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: interveniencePrevious Word in the Dictionary: interveinalAll Words Near: intervene
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears