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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about interstice

Statistics for interstice

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interstice

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for interstice



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)

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a wrong name or inappropriate designation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!