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

In 2015, a different council candidate challenged how the city interpreted its term limits. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Court reverses ruling that 4 Warren councilmen should be off ballot," 6 June 2019 The back and forth between Clay and Mr. Bolan is just one instance of the series trying to redefine how the first season was interpreted. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "13 Reasons Why Tries Again," 17 May 2018 Right now, school bullying, and how Chinese culture is being interpreted. Vogue, "19 FIT, Pratt, and Parsons 2019 Graduates on Their Collections and the Future of Fashion," 22 May 2019 Somehow, one commenter interpreted this as an invitation to make presumptuous remarks about the 21-year-old actor's appearance. Marci Robin, Allure, "Ariel Winter Shut Down a Troll Who Said She "Obviously" Got a Lot of Plastic Surgery," 10 May 2019 As might be expected of creatives, this year's group of designers (32 in total) interpreted that in a variety of ways. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "See How 32 Designers Transform a Dining Room in Just a Few Hours," 3 May 2019 That silence is often interpreted or manifested as apathy. Wade Davis, Good Housekeeping, "It's Time to Stop the Cycle of Shame, and Teach Boys How to Love Themselves," 30 Apr. 2019 Some interpreted the note to be a form of intimidation, while others saw it as an encouraging one. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Handwritten note left on Senate Judiciary Committee room witness table read, 'Good luck, Dr. Ford'," 27 Sep. 2018 The government has interpreted the court mandate to include all children separated from their families even before this policy, increasing the number that need to be reunited. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Department of Justice Wants More Time to Reunite Families Separated at the Border," 6 July 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

12 Jun 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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