interpret

play
verb in·ter·pret \in-ˈtər-prət, -pət\

Definition of interpret

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to explain or tell the meaning of :  present in understandable terms interpret dreams needed help interpreting the results

  3. 2 :  to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance :  construe interpret a contract

  4. 3 :  to represent by means of art :  bring to realization by performance or direction interprets a role

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to act as an interpreter between speakers of different languages

interpretability

play \in-ˌtər-prə-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē, -pə-tə-\ noun

interpretable

play \in-ˈtər-prə-tə-bəl, -pə-tə-\ adjective

Examples of interpret in a Sentence

  1. We need someone to interpret these results for us.

  2. How should we interpret the law?

  3. I interpreted his behavior to mean that he disliked me.

  4. Every actor interprets the role of Hamlet a little differently.

Recent Examples of interpret from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of interpret

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

INTERPRET Defined for English Language Learners

interpret

play
verb

Definition of interpret for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

interpret

play
verb in·ter·pret \in-ˈtər-prət\

Definition of interpret for Students

interpreted

;

interpreting

  1. 1 :  to explain the meaning of She claims to interpret dreams.

  2. 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. 3 :  to bring out the meaning of An actor interprets a role.


Law Dictionary

interpret

play
transitive verb in·ter·pret \in-ˈtər-prət\

Legal Definition of interpret

  1. :  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



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up interpret? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to relieve or lessen

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!