interpret

verb
in·​ter·​pret | \ in-ˈtər-prət How to pronounce interpret (audio) , -pət\
interpreted; interpreting; interprets

Definition of interpret

transitive verb

1 : to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms interpret dreams needed help interpreting the results
2 : to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance : construe interpret a contract
3 : to represent by means of art : bring to realization by performance or direction interprets a role

intransitive verb

: to act as an interpreter between speakers of different languages

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Other Words from interpret

interpretability \ in-​ˌtər-​prə-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce interpretability (audio) , -​pə-​tə-​ \ noun
interpretable \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce interpretable (audio) , -​pə-​tə-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for interpret

explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret mean to make something clear or understandable. explain implies a making plain or intelligible what is not immediately obvious or entirely known. explain the rules expound implies a careful often elaborate explanation. expounding a scientific theory explicate adds the idea of a developed or detailed analysis. explicate a poem elucidate stresses the throwing of light upon as by offering details or motives previously unclear or only implicit. elucidate an obscure passage interpret adds to explain the need for imagination or sympathy or special knowledge in dealing with something. interpreting a work of art

Examples of interpret in a Sentence

We need someone to interpret these results for us. How should we interpret the law? I interpreted his behavior to mean that he disliked me. Every actor interprets the role of Hamlet a little differently.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Bouman's algorithm is a type of computer process that crunches colossal amounts of data allowing it to be interpreted — in this case, as a photograph. Kristen Bobst, Teen Vogue, "Women Like Katie Bouman Helped Us See a Black Hole for the First Time," 12 Apr. 2019 The museum is a showcase of looted art from other cultures, and the location can also be interpreted as a reference to black American artists’ historic obsession with Paris and French culture. Kaitlyn Greenidge, Glamour, "In the Louvre, Beyoncé Proves There's Power in Repurposing Art History," 18 June 2018 The league’s new policy can be interpreted as an attempt to paint protesters as being opposed to the anthem. Les Bowen, Philly.com, "NFL anthem policy attempts to end protests, but controversy surrounding them lives on," 23 May 2018 An expansive show at the Met shows the myriad ways in which a work that many consider to be the world’s first novel has been interpreted over the centuries. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "‘The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated’ Review: An Ancient Story Continually Reinvented," 10 Apr. 2019 But one major way spiders interpret the world is through vibration receptors on their legs. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Do You Actually Swallow a Bunch of Spiders When You Sleep?," 8 Feb. 2019 That’s one way to interpret the thunderous response to her speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "Oprah Earned This Museum Show. And It’s a Potent Spectacle.," 21 June 2018 Hospital officials have said that the loss of Medicare certification is due only to a technical change in the way federal rules are interpreted. Andy Marso, kansascity, "Hospital facing loss of federal money asked nurses to falsify records, inspectors say," 14 June 2018 A few years ago the Bad Plus organized a project involving Berne that interpreted the music of the Coleman album that gives Broken Shadows its name. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Jazz quartet Broken Shadows take on the music of saxophonists Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, and Julius Hemphill," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interpret.' 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 interpret

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for interpret

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French interpreter, from Latin interpretari, from interpret-, interpres agent, negotiator, interpreter

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Statistics for interpret

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interpret

The first known use of interpret was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for interpret

interpret

verb

English Language Learners Definition of interpret

: to explain the meaning of (something)
: to understand (something) in a specified way
: to perform (something, such as a song or a role) in a way that shows your own thoughts and feelings about it

interpret

verb
in·​ter·​pret | \ in-ˈtər-prət How to pronounce interpret (audio) \
interpreted; interpreting

Kids Definition of interpret

1 : to explain the meaning of She claims to interpret dreams.
2 : to understand in a particular way He interpreted Cluny's order as the much-coveted promotion to second-in-command.— Brian Jacques, Redwall
3 : to bring out the meaning of An actor interprets a role.

interpret

transitive verb
in·​ter·​pret | \ in-ˈtər-prət How to pronounce interpret (audio) \

Legal Definition of interpret

: to explain or tell the meaning of (as a document) especially in order to determine intent they must interpret the provisions of the Constitution— L. H. Tribe

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Comments on interpret

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