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 The Tux-Inspired Dress Tuxedo dressing is always a good idea, but interpreted as a gown, the concept feels especially fresh. Abby Kalicka, Harper's BAZAAR, "Holiday Hero Pieces That Bring on the Glamour," 6 Dec. 2019 Studies may never prove what causes cancer There's an important consideration in interpreting the results: The study analyzes association, not causation. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Study links hair dyes and chemical straighteners to higher breast cancer risk, particularly among black women," 6 Dec. 2019 Shuffle, in which chefs swap and interpret recipes. Kimmy Yam, NBC News, "Italian chef apologizes for racist slant-eye pose," 5 Dec. 2019 Analysts help the automated voice ordering system interpret the wide world of human speech. Joe Rubino, The Denver Post, "Colorado Springs restaurant ordering AI company finds ideal fit for workers on the autism spectrum," 5 Dec. 2019 But technologies capable of detecting and interpreting said substance, now known to be DNA, evolved much more recently. Wired, "The WIRED Guide to Genetic Testing," 3 Dec. 2019 Ephrat Livni The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a gun rights case that, if the justices decide to review it, could have major consequences for how the Second Amendment is interpreted. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Justices fire warning shots at Supreme Court hearing on gun rights," 2 Dec. 2019 And when that’s paired with its other characteristics of minimalism and natural materials, the Shaker aesthetic can easily be interpreted for a modern eye. Kelly Dawson, House Beautiful, "What Are Shaker Cabinets?," 28 Nov. 2019 Just talk to me Voice commands will probably find widespread adoption well before touch-sensitive seat cushions interpret our finger doodles as an instruction to change the cabin temperature or play a different track. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Is it time to turn away from touchscreens in our cars?," 26 Nov. 2019

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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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

11 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Interpret.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interpret?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=i&file=interp19. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for interpret

interpret

verb
How to pronounce interpret (audio)

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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