in·​ter·​po·​la·​tion in-ˌtər-pə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce interpolation (audio)
plural interpolations
: an act of interpolating something or the state of being interpolated : the introduction or insertion of something spurious or foreign
… versions disfigured by the frequent and substantial interpolation of freely invented matter …Bernard Knox
: something that is introduced or inserted : an insertion or addition
How can such interpolations be identified, and what literary processes led to these additions?Jan Nattier
: the process of calculating an approximate value based on values that are already known
The age of tephras that were not directly dated was estimated by linear interpolation from the calibrated date.Richard J. Payne and Jeffrey J. Blackford

Examples of interpolation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As collaborations and interpolations of classic hits pile up in the country music genre, an iconic ’90s country group and one of country music’s current biggest stars are teaming up to refresh a ’90s country classic. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 21 Sep. 2023 For all that, the interpolation of our Progressive narrative within the existing Palace and People’s narratives seems, after Wright’s arguments, newly graced by tradition. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 After the data was uniformly processed, Wang used an algorithmic technique called motion interpolation to fill in the gaps to make a continuous video. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 10 Aug. 2023 Companies can tweak their camera’s resolution by an interpolation process, where the camera’s original megapixels are enhanced or multiplied by the camera’s software. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, 2 Aug. 2023 At the time, when the interpolation concept was still largely untested in country, Owen wasn’t sure how it would be greeted. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 31 July 2023 Some TVs use motion smoothing (or frame interpolation). Simon Hill, WIRED, 14 July 2023 Throughout the set, Beyoncé wove interpolations of her predecessors’ songs throughout her own, as if to place her music in a larger continuum. Lindsay Zoladz, New York Times, 9 July 2023 Owen would love to see the song emulate the chart run of his Mellencamp interpolation. Tom Roland, Billboard, 5 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'interpolation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of interpolation was in 1612

Dictionary Entries Near interpolation

Cite this Entry

“Interpolation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

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