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 director — who’s taking on Shakespeare here for the first time — also interpolates scenes of Duke Frederick and Co. back in court, conceived ingeniously (via what resemble film vignettes) behind the scrim that bears the Fragonard painting. James Hebert, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘As You Like It’ zips along with elegance and wit in Old Globe’s Shakespeare Festival opener," 23 June 2019 Any one of these concepts could support a Black Mirror episode of its own, and Brooker does a solid job interpolating them, cutting between Ashley’s betrayal by her managers and the sisters getting to know their Ashley-bot. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Black Mirror: ‘Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too’ Is a Fascinating Jumble," 5 June 2019 Grande interpolates the melody in her verses with a saucy attitude. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The True Story Behind Ariana Grande's New Hit, "7 Rings"," 18 Jan. 2019 Top-tier artists from J. Cole to Rae Sremmurd have all interpolated old Three 6 hooks within the past four years. Patrick Lyons, Billboard, "10 Years Ago, Three 6 Mafia's 'Last 2 Walk' Almost Ruined Their Legacy," 24 June 2018 The cast is largely Japanese, with some American actors interpolated in scenes shot in this country. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "'King Kong vs. Godzilla': THR's 1963 Review," 26 June 2018 The song interpolates John Mellencamp's four-week 1982 Billboard Hot 100 No. Jim Asker, Billboard, "Thomas Rhett Tallies 10th Country Airplay No. 1 With 'Marry Me'," 6 Mar. 2018 Working as his own editor, Foreman interpolates numerous excerpts from his father's globetrotting oeuvre (10 cinematographers are credited), all of which was uncompromisingly dedicated to chronicling and celebrating class struggles. Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Image You Missed': Film Review | Rotterdam 2018," 7 Feb. 2018 The Stein and Thomson estates, however, refused permission to interpolate these new texts into the work. Ryan Ebright, New York Times, "Celebrating Women’s Rights, ‘That Most American of Operas’," 3 Nov. 2017

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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Statistics for interpolate

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interpolate

The first known use of interpolate was in 1612

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More Definitions for interpolate



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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something desired as essential

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