in·​ter·​face | \ˈin-tər-ˌfās \

Definition of interface 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a surface forming a common boundary of two bodies, spaces, or phases an oil-water interface

2a : the place at which independent and often unrelated systems meet and act on or communicate with each other the man-machine interface

b : the means by which interaction or communication is achieved at an interface


interfaced; interfacing; interfaces

Definition of interface (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to connect by means of an interface interface a machine with a computer

2 : to serve as an interface for

intransitive verb

1 : to become interfaced

2 : to interact or coordinate harmoniously

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Other Words from interface


interfacial \ˌin-​tər-​ˈfā-​shəl \ adjective

Examples of interface in a Sentence


the interface between engineering and science The software has a user interface that's easy to operate. We installed an interface between the computer and the typesetting machine.


interface a machine with a computer the point at which the two machines interface
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Smart speakers aren’t radios, and podcast-style shows aren’t suited for an interface that discourages browsing and library-building. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Smart speakers have no idea how to give us news," 18 Nov. 2018 Parents can also manage and monitor things like usage time and appropriate content via an intuitive parental control interface. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "Amazon's new Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet is 30% off and designed to keep children safe online," 2 Oct. 2018 Autotrader has an easy-to-use interface that a huge number of buyers rely on, and that’s a reason to put it at the top of your list. Zachary Palmer, Popular Mechanics, "The 10 Best Sites to Buy and Sell Your Car Online," 7 Aug. 2018 In base form, the Enclave provides stuff like three-zone automatic climate control, six USB ports, and an eight-inch touchscreen interface that affords Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. Al Haas,, "Redesigned after 10 years, new Buick Enclave is worth the wait," 28 June 2018 The searchable archive of political ads — which, as of now, only contains ads from early May — will also include an application program interface (API) that outside researchers and coders can use to build their own apps on top of. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Facebook Just Created a Giant Public Database of Online Political Ads," 24 May 2018 This is biomusic, an emotional interface that tracks physiological signals associated with emotional states and translates them into music. Nathan Hurst, Smithsonian, "Can Biomusic Offer Kids With Autism a New Way to Communicate?," 2 Apr. 2018 Nearly every recent Apple hardware or software innovation started on the iPhone: the App Store, iMessage, Retina Displays, Siri, Touch ID, HomeKit, Face ID, touchscreen interfaces, and even basic UI trends. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "The MacBook Air needs Face ID and a delightful notch," 6 Nov. 2018 As cool as current VR headsets are, they're still saddled with sweat-inducing bulk, limited resolution, 3D vergence issues, artificial hand-tracking interfaces, and more. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Oculus co-founder: “Free is still not cheap enough” for current VR tech," 1 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The goal here is to provide the locals a place to stock up without having to interface with the tourists padding around above. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Two Very Big Reasons You Should Do Your Holiday Shopping in Midtown Manhattan," 20 Nov. 2018 And so Anikeeva became determined to design flexible fibers that could interface with the nervous system without damaging it, transmitting signals to reconnect nerves or stimulate neurons. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 Its ride-sharing platform could be used on its own or be tailored to interface with a partner, one person said. Mark Bergen And Noah Buhayar,, "GM puts pieces in place for self-driving taxis in San Francisco," 3 July 2018 From infancy, citizens live every moment of their waking lives with a heads-up display laid over their vision, offering information, data, and ways to remotely interface with the physical world. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Netflix’s Anon is an augmented reality neo-noir nightmare," 4 May 2018 Autonomous-car industry analysts say the needs of disabled people are being discussed as designers figure out how users will interface with the cars, but there are many competing demands. Jason Dearen, The Christian Science Monitor, "Researchers develop autonomous vehicles to help the blind," 13 Apr. 2018 Reservation, warranty, and warehousing systems had to interface with services running on mainframes, some running software that was decades old. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Dot-Coms Were Better Than Facebook," 13 Apr. 2018 If everything the brain does to interact with the world involves muscles, why not use the motor system to more directly interface mind and machine? R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "Wristband Lets the Brain Control a Computer with a Thought and a Twitch," 27 Mar. 2018 Granted, there was some other tech in the case, specifically the parts that let those batteries interface with the device, but not some $660 worth. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Teardown of a $700 Battery Finds Staggeringly Little Inside," 22 Feb. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interface.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of interface


1882, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1962, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for interface

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interface

The first known use of interface was in 1882

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More Definitions for interface



English Language Learners Definition of interface

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the place or area at which different things meet and communicate with or affect each other

: a system that is used for operating a computer : a system that controls the way information is shown to a computer user and the way the user is able to work with the computer

: an area or system through which one machine is connected to another machine



English Language Learners Definition of interface (Entry 2 of 2)

: to connect or become connected : to connect by means of an interface


in·​ter·​face | \ˈint-ər-ˌfās \

Medical Definition of interface 

: a surface forming a common boundary of two bodies, spaces, or phases interfaces between various tissues such as skin, fatty tissue, and muscle— H. P. Schwan

Other Words from interface

interface transitive verb interfaced; interfacing
interfacial \ˌint-​ər-​ˈfā-​shəl \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on interface

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with interface

Spanish Central: Translation of interface

Nglish: Translation of interface for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of interface for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about interface

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