verb in·ter·po·late \in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlāt\

Definition of interpolate




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to alter or corrupt (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.

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

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


verb in·ter·po·late \in-ˈtər-pə-ˌlāt\

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).


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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