in·​ter·​po·​late | \ in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlāt How to pronounce interpolate (audio) \
interpolated; interpolating

Definition of interpolate

transitive verb

1a : to alter or corrupt (something, such as a text) by inserting new or foreign matter
b : to insert (words) into a text or into a conversation
2 : to insert between other things or parts : intercalate
3 : to estimate values of (data or a function) between two known values

intransitive verb

: to make insertions (as of estimated values)

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Other Words from interpolate

interpolative \ in-​ˈtər-​pə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce interpolative (audio) \ adjective
interpolator \ in-​ˈtər-​pə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce interpolator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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."

Examples of interpolate in a Sentence

He smoothly interpolates fragments from other songs into his own. He interpolated a very critical comment in the discussion.
Recent Examples on the Web The new track interpolates part of Lamar’s anthemic 2015 song, which was co-produced by Pharrell and won two Grammy Awards. Mesfin Fekadu, USA TODAY, "Tye Tribbett reworks Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" into coronavirus song with positive vibes," 25 Apr. 2020 Capable of scanning documents at 600 dpi (optical) or 1200 dpi (interpolated), this inexpensive scanner can still capture sharp documents at 8 pages per minute. Popular Science, "Portable scanners that make the world your office," 9 Apr. 2020 But his reputation rested equally on his abilities as a composer and arranger for large ensembles, interpolating bebop’s crosshatched rhythms and extended improvisations into fulsome tapestries. Giovanni Russonello,, "Jimmy Heath, 93, jazz saxophonist and composer," 19 Jan. 2020 But his reputation rested equally on his abilities as a composer and arranger for large ensembles, interpolating bebop’s crosshatched rhythms and extended improvisations into lush tapestries. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Jimmy Heath, 93, Jazz Saxophonist and Composer, Is Dead," 19 Jan. 2020 The reader struggles, along with Vanessa, to make sense of what is happening, to interpolate, to see the truth, with so many false accounts, so many delusions, so many efforts to neaten or prettify. Katie Roiphe, New York Times, "Girl, Interrupted," 10 Mar. 2020 The translation, by Jocelyne Geneviève Barque and John Galbraith Simmons, is a masterful one, allowing Sade’s prose to flow, neither assuming the language and rhythms of the eighteenth century nor interpolating anachronisms from English today. Mitchell Abidor, The New York Review of Books, "Reading Sade in the Age of Epstein," 12 Feb. 2020 Crucial to its impact is Frazao's intelligently interpolated, percussive soundtrack, which augments jazz traditions by deploying relatively unfamiliar instruments such as the fliscorn, dikanza and kissanje. Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Air Conditioner' ('Ar condicionado'): Film Review | Rotterdam 2020," 26 Jan. 2020 His music was sampled or interpolated by the Wu-Tang Clan, 2Pac, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and many others. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Jimmy Spicer, Influential Early Rapper, Is Dead at 61," 30 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of interpolate

1612, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for interpolate

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

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Time Traveler for interpolate

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The first known use of interpolate was in 1612

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Cite this Entry

“Interpolate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for interpolate


How to pronounce interpolate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of interpolate

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

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