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 first verse can certainly be interpreted as directed at Kanye West. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "A track-by-track breakdown of Taylor Swift's new album Lover," 23 Aug. 2019 Courts have interpreted the Fair Housing Act to ban policies with a discriminatory disparate impact since it was passed in 1968, but with variations in its application. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "HUD proposes rule that would make housing discrimination lawsuits ‘impossible’," 19 Aug. 2019 Schilling was fired from a commentating gig with ESPN in April 2016 after reposting a meme widely interpreted as anti-transgender. Chuck Schilken, Los Angeles Times, "Curt Schilling is considering running for Congress. Trump approves," 13 Aug. 2019 Known as an inverted yield curve, longer-term yields below shorter ones are unusual in developed markets and often interpreted as a harbinger of recession. BostonGlobe.com, "Stories you may have missed from the world of business," 5 Aug. 2019 Over the years, English readers have interpreted her restraint, her carefulness about making things up, for a quirky interest in surfaces. Abhrajyoti Chakraborty, The New Republic, "Natalia Ginzburg’s Radical Clarity," 5 Aug. 2019 Once Upon a Time has been widely interpreted as an elegy for a beloved cinematic era that ended with the cultural shifts of the late ’60s, which were embodied by Manson’s curdled, deranged hippiedom. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Quentin Tarantino’s Ultimate Statement on Movie Violence," 2 Aug. 2019 That language echoed a remark that Chairman Jerome Powell made two weeks ago that analysts interpreted as a signal that rate cuts were on the way. CBS News, "Wall Street ends higher after the Fed's hold-steady decision," 19 June 2019 In the winter, reigning state wrestling champion Hayden Halter of Waterford was disqualified after winning the Southern Lakes tournament title when the referee penalized him a second time for a gesture interpreted as unsportsmanlike. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin wrestler used as example in article highlighting how technology has complicated the jobs of youth sports officials," 19 June 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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Statistics for interpret

Last Updated

4 Sep 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 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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