in·​ter·​stice | \ in-ˈtər-stəs How to pronounce interstice (audio) \
plural interstices\ in-​ˈtər-​stə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce interstices (audio) , -​stə-​səz \

Definition of interstice

1a : a space that intervenes between things especially : one between closely spaced things interstices of a wall
b : a gap or break in something generally continuous the interstices of society passages of genuine literary merit in the interstices of the ludicrous … plots— Joyce Carol Oates
2 : a short space of time between events

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Did You Know?

You don't need to read between the lines to understand the history of interstice; its etymology is plain to see. Interstice derives from the Latin interstitium, which is itself formed from the prefix inter-, meaning "between," and -stes, meaning "standing." Interstices are the cracks and crevices of life, and the word is often used for both the literal and figurative gaps of the world. In modern uses, interstice can even refer to gaps in time or to special niches in the larger expanse of something else. Evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould used it, for example, to comment, "Dinosaurs held sway for 100 million years while mammals, all the while, lived as small animals in the interstices of their world."

Examples of interstice in a Sentence

there's an occasional interstice in the tedium, but most of the novel is boring pesky weeds growing in the interstices between the flagstones
Recent Examples on the Web Its molten rage has dripped through the interstices of our daily lives. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "Hope for the Present in a Reminder of Greatness," 5 Oct. 2018 The interstice between Jack’s insides and his skin — that chasm of echoing hollow, the miserable Gas that kept him from himself, and from the world, had been closed.’’ Voth’s situation is much less dramatic. Clea Simon,, "In Jordy Rosenberg’s new novel, it’s a trans, trans, trans, trans world," 22 June 2018 In the 21st century, interstices could do something similar. Daniel H. Pink, The Atlantic, "The Future of Television Is Being Able to Pick Shows by Length," 11 June 2018 Girls in pinafores and straw hats are preparing for an outing to Hanging Rock, where giant obelisks of red stone jut out of the earth and create a labyrinth of craggy interstices—a geological marvel and a sacred site for Aboriginal Australians. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Picnic at Hanging Rock," 22 May 2018 The artist explores interstices between mediums, where viewers don’t know what to grab — the story’s pull, or the paint’s. Cate Mcquaid,, "Not illustrating, but dancing with," 4 Apr. 2018 That’s what Schuleit Haber offers from the interstices: the opportunity to wonder, rather than to know. Cate Mcquaid,, "Not illustrating, but dancing with," 4 Apr. 2018 David Sedaris, on the other hand, revels in those moments, finding meaning and humor in life’s interstices. David Takami, The Seattle Times, "Steal a look: Diary entries offer glimpse into David Sedaris’ humor," 11 June 2017 Her shapes intersect at awkward angles but often stop short of touching, exposing slivers and interstices of bare canvas that create a jangly autonomy of parts. Roberta Smith And Martha Schwendener, New York Times, "What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week," 1 June 2017

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for interstice

Middle English, from Latin interstitium, from inter- + -stit-, -stes standing (as in superstes standing over) — more at superstition

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Time Traveler for interstice

The first known use of interstice was in the 15th century

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How to pronounce interstice (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of interstice

formal : a small space that lies between things : a small break or gap in something


in·​ter·​stice | \ in-ˈtər-stəs How to pronounce interstice (audio) \
plural interstices\ -​stə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce interstices (audio) , -​stə-​səz How to pronounce interstices (audio) \

Medical Definition of interstice

: a space between closely spaced things (as teeth)

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More from Merriam-Webster on interstice

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for interstice

Spanish Central: Translation of interstice

Nglish: Translation of interstice for Spanish Speakers

Comments on interstice

What made you want to look up interstice? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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