interpretation

noun
in·​ter·​pre·​ta·​tion | \ in-ˌtər-prə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce interpretation (audio) , -pə- \

Essential Meaning of interpretation

1 : the act or result of explaining or interpreting something : the way something is explained or understood We did not agree with his interpretation [=explanation] of the results. There were many interpretations of [=many ways to interpret] his behavior. See More Examplesa literal/loose interpretation of the law The truth will only be found by careful interpretation of the evidence. His remarks need further interpretation.Hide
2 : a particular way of performing something an actor's interpretation of the role of Hamlet

Full Definition of interpretation

1 : the act or the result of interpreting : explanation
2 : a particular adaptation or version of a work, method, or style
3 : a teaching technique that combines factual with stimulating explanatory information natural history interpretation program

Other Words from interpretation

interpretational \ in-​ˌtər-​prə-​ˈtā-​shnəl How to pronounce interpretation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , -​pə-​ \ adjective
interpretative \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​ˌtā-​tiv How to pronounce interpretation (audio) also  -​prə-​tə-​tiv \ adjective
interpretatively adverb
interpretive \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​tiv How to pronounce interpretation (audio) , -​pə-​ \ adjective
interpretively adverb

Examples of interpretation in a Sentence

a literal interpretation of the law The truth will only be found by careful interpretation of the evidence. His remarks need further interpretation. an actor's interpretation of the role of Hamlet
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Recent Examples on the Web Rappaport’s interpretation turns out to be wrong, but his recollection, with its uncanny analogy between Nazis and aliens, feels like a key. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 On New Year’s Eve, Bob Saget reflected on the late Betty White’s interpretation of the afterlife. Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2022 The carvings that were destroyed are between 3,000 and 8,500 years old, Tom VandenBerg, chief of interpretation and visitor services with Big Bend National Park, told NBC News. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, 10 Jan. 2022 This cheerful interpretation doesn’t always square with the reclusive woman that Marks herself has described. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Jan. 2022 Science is never perfect and the recommendations for managing Covid-19 have been based not on irrefutable scientific evidence but interpretation of messy data. WSJ, 5 Jan. 2022 The law doesn’t stop communities from financially penalizing businesses that don’t comply, according to Kessler’s interpretation. Kaitlin Durbin, cleveland, 5 Jan. 2022 Forecasting has more room for varied possible outcomes and allows for human error within interpretation. Diana Rose Harper, Wired, 5 Jan. 2022 Barlaam’s interpretation of the allegory is very different from Vidura’s in the Mahabharata. Hari Kunzru, Harper’s Magazine , 4 Jan. 2022

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for interpretation

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near interpretation

interpretate

interpretation

interpretation clause

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Statistics for interpretation

Last Updated

14 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Interpretation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interpretation. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for interpretation

interpretation

noun
in·​ter·​pre·​ta·​tion | \ in-ˌtər-prə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \

Kids Definition of interpretation

1 : the way something is explained or understood What's your interpretation of the results?
2 : a particular way of performing something (as a dramatic role)

interpretation

noun
in·​ter·​pre·​ta·​tion | \ in-ˌtər-prə-ˈtā-shən, -pə- How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \

Medical Definition of interpretation

: the act or result of giving an explanation of something interpretation of the symptoms of disease especially : an explanation in understandable terms to a patient in psychotherapy of the deeper meaning according to psychological theory of the material related and the behavior exhibited by the patient during treatment

Other Words from interpretation

interpret \ in-​ˈtər-​prət, -​pət How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \ transitive verb
interpretive \ -​prət-​iv, -​pət-​ How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \ or interpretative \ -​prə-​ˌtāt-​iv How to pronounce interpretation (audio) , -​prət-​ət-​iv How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \ adjective

interpretation

noun
in·​ter·​pre·​ta·​tion | \ in-ˌtər-prə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \

Legal Definition of interpretation

: the act or result of interpreting — compare construction

Other Words from interpretation

interpretative \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​ˌtā-​tiv, -​tə-​tiv How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \ adjective
interpretive \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​tiv How to pronounce interpretation (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on interpretation

Nglish: Translation of interpretation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of interpretation for Arabic Speakers

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