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 But questions remain about how well the vaccine works in people over 55 and how to interpret results from a small number of people given a different set of doses. Time, "More COVID-19 Vaccines Are in the Pipeline as the U.S. Effort Ramps Up," 29 Dec. 2020 But questions remain about how well the vaccine works in people over 55 and how to interpret results from a small number of people given a different set of doses. Lauran Neergaard, Anchorage Daily News, "More COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline as US effort ramps up," 29 Dec. 2020 But questions remain about how well the vaccine works in people over 55 and how to interpret results from a small number of people given a different set of doses. Lauran Neergaard, chicagotribune.com, "More COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline as US effort ramps up," 28 Dec. 2020 The new tests, which have smart phone apps that can help users interpret the results and connect to health professionals, will help with what experts say is an egregiously inadequate testing program in the Bay Area and around the nation. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Rapid home coronavirus testing kits are finally coming to the Bay Area. But is it too late?," 17 Dec. 2020 The test connects to a digital app to help users interpret the results. CBS News, "FDA authorizes first over-the-counter home test for COVID-19," 15 Dec. 2020 The test connects digitally to a smart phone app that displays the results and then helps interpret the results. Matthew Perrone, ajc, "Over-the-counter home test for COVID-19 gets US green light," 15 Dec. 2020 The test connects digitally to a smart phone app that displays the results and then helps interpret the results. Arkansas Online, "Over-the-counter home test for covid-19 gets U.S. green light," 15 Dec. 2020 The agency says the tests should be easy enough for a lay person to use and interpret at home. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "Can You Get a Covid Test at Home?," 14 Dec. 2020

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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Interpret.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interpret. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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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