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 interpret (audio) , -​pə-​tə-​ \ noun
interpretable \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce interpret (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 Data on pay gains have been hard to interpret because state and local lockdowns tossed people who earn relatively little out of work, causing average hourly earnings to artificially pop last spring. New York Times, 3 June 2021 With access to inventory analytics, publishers are faced with the challenge to interpret the data to advance their offerings to set the appropriate price for placements. Harshit Jain, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Cruz calls it dishonest to interpret his comments as attacking the military, rather than the ad campaign and the ideology behind them. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, 25 May 2021 The Fed chooses to interpret this troubling sign as the result of technicalities rather than doubts about the soundness of current and past policies. Christian Broda And Stanley Druckenmiller, WSJ, 10 May 2021 Scalia overturned a century of jurisprudence with an argument based on originalism—choosing to interpret the words as they were allegedly intended at the time of their writing. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 7 May 2021 And Facebook last month revealed plans to interpret your intent to move a finger to trigger digital commands. Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2021 The team also found that muzzle gases can cause flying blood droplets to break up, changing the resulting spatter patterns that forensic experts have to interpret at crime scenes. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, 20 Apr. 2021 Still, how else to interpret the most trenchant passages in the novella, which reflect on mortality and time? David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More About interpret

Time Traveler for interpret

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for interpret

Last Updated

6 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Interpret.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interpret. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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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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