interpret

verb
in·​ter·​pret | \ in-ˈtər-prət, -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 , -​pə-​tə-​ \ noun
interpretable \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​tə-​bəl , -​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

The implication, as fans interpreted it, is that Freeform will not bring back Shadowhunters. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, ""Shadowhunters" Fans Are Angry With Freeform for Reportedly Joking About the Show's Cancellation During "Toy Story 2"," 17 Dec. 2018 Large studies can identify many genes implicated in a condition, each having a tiny influence, causing a lot of debate about how best to interpret them. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Large genetic study finds first genes connected with ADHD," 27 Nov. 2018 Judge Kavanaugh's nomination continues President Trump's track record of appointing excellent judges who will interpret the law as it is written ... Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "Stacey Abrams on Why Survivors Don't Report—And Why We Must Believe Them Anyway," 25 Sep. 2018 Photo: Michael Zagaris, San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images When the regular season began, players on other teams followed suit, despite resistance from fans who interpreted the protests as unpatriotic. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The History of NFL Player Protests During the National Anthem," 9 Sep. 2018 There’s the languid pacing that leaves you breathing room to observe things for yourself and interpret them from your own viewpoint. Colin Covert, Detroit Free Press, "‘Leave No Trace’ is a moving father-daughter story," 12 July 2018 That’s trillions of pixels raining down daily, which could never be transformed into useful maps without AI algorithms trained to interpret them. Bill Gourgey, WIRED, "How Artificial Intelligence Could Prevent Natural Disasters," 10 July 2018 McConnell, who called for a nominee who will interpret the law fairly and apply it even-handedly, has praised Thapar in the past. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Kentuckian on Trump's short list for Supreme Court," 27 June 2018 Since it was introduced in 2015, those who interpret the emoji as a beating heart have used it to represent life or love. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "The One Emoji That Means True Love," 16 May 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

9 Jan 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 \
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 \

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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