Definition of interpolate
1a : to alter or corrupt (as a text) by inserting new or foreign matterb : 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
: to make insertions (as of estimated values)
interpolationplay \in-ˌtər-pə-ˈlā-shən\ noun
interpolativeplay \in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlā-tiv\ adjective
interpolatorplay \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
He smoothly interpolates fragments from other songs into his own.
He interpolated a very critical comment in the discussion.
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)
First Known Use: 1612
Synonym Discussion of interpolate
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up interpolate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).