verb in·ter·po·late \in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlāt\

Definition of interpolate




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to alter or corrupt (something, such as a text) by inserting new or foreign matterb :  to insert (words) into a text or into a conversation

  3. 2 :  to insert between other things or parts :  intercalate

  4. 3 :  to estimate values of (data or a function) between two known values

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to make insertions (as of estimated values)


play \in-ˌtər-pə-ˈlā-shən\ noun


play \in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlā-tiv\ adjective


play \in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlā-tər\ noun

interpolate was our Word of the Day on 07/23/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of interpolate in a Sentence

  1. He smoothly interpolates fragments from other songs into his own.

  2. He interpolated a very critical comment in the discussion.

Recent Examples of interpolate from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Interpolate comes from Latin interpolare, a verb with various meanings, among them "to refurbish," "to alter," and "to falsify." Interpolate entered English in the 17th century and was applied early on to the alteration (and in many cases corruption) of texts by insertion of additional material. Modern use of interpolate still sometimes suggests the insertion of something extraneous or spurious, as in "she interpolated her own comments into the report."

Origin and Etymology of interpolate

Latin interpolatus, past participle of interpolare to refurbish, alter, interpolate, from inter- + -polare (from polire to polish)

Synonym Discussion of interpolate

introduce, insert, insinuate, interpolate, intercalate, interpose, interject mean to put between or among others. introduce is a general term for bringing or placing a thing or person into a group or body already in existence. introduced a new topic into the conversation insert implies putting into a fixed or open space between or among. inserted a clause in the contract insinuate implies introducing gradually or by gentle pressure. insinuated himself into the group interpolate applies to the inserting of something extraneous or spurious. interpolated her own comments into the report intercalate suggests an intrusive inserting of something in an existing series or sequence. new chapters intercalated with the old interpose suggests inserting an obstruction or cause of delay. interpose barriers to communication interject implies an abrupt or forced introduction. interjected a question

INTERPOLATE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of interpolate for English Language Learners

  • : to put (something) between other things or parts; especially : to put (words) into a piece of writing or a conversation

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