in·ter·val | \ ˈin-tər-vəl \

Definition of interval 

1a : a space of time between events or states

b British : intermission

2a : a space between objects, units, points, or states

b : the difference in pitch between two tones

3 : a set of real numbers between two numbers either including or excluding one or both of them

4 : one of a series of fast-paced exercises interspersed with slower ones or brief rests for training (as of an athlete)

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Other words from interval

intervallic \ˌin-tər-ˈva-lik \ adjective

Examples of interval in a Sentence

a three-month interval between jobs There might be long intervals during which nothing happens. The sun shone for brief intervals throughout the day. There will be a 20-minute interval between acts one and two.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Many long-distance runners train in intervals, also known as periodization, building strength by alternating hard and easy weeks of exertion and recovery. David G. Allan, CNN, "The infamous murderer's prison escape that inspired a near-impossible ultramarathon," 26 May 2018 Divers have set up oxygen tanks at 25-yard intervals and other military personnel were practicing evacuation drills over the weekend. James Hookway, WSJ, "Thai Rescuers Push Further Into Flooded Cave in Search for Missing Boys," 1 July 2018 The number of passengers riding ferries from Vallejo jumped from about 100,000 to more than 236,000 over the same time interval. Rachel Swan,, "Soon-to-open Richmond ferry terminal could revive shoreline, usher in gentrification," 5 July 2018 After the interval Mexico lost drive and focus and Neymar broke the deadlock on 51 minutes. Justin Davis,, "Stylish Neymar steers Brazil past Mexico and into World Cup quarters," 2 July 2018 The sides were level at 0-0 at the half-time interval., "Belgium 3-2 Japan: Red Devils Secure Place in Last 8 After Amazing Comeback Win," 2 July 2018 In a barbecue pit, the food smokes at a low heat away from the fire for intervals measured in half-days. Steven Raichlen, New York Times, "Grilling Turns Back to an Ancient Fuel: Wood," 29 June 2018 For example, a technique called arithmetic coding subdivides the real number line between 0 and 1 so that each symbol's share of the interval is proportional to the frequency with which the symbol is expected to appear in the data. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Inventor says Google is patenting work he put in the public domain," 10 June 2018 Staff members conduct round-the-clock head counts, sometimes at 15-minute intervals, all while monitoring the constant flow of boys being received and discharged., "A migrant child’s days in detention included cleaning toilets," 14 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for interval

Middle English intervalle, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French entreval, from Latin intervallum space between ramparts, interval, from inter- + vallum rampart — more at wall

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Phrases Related to interval

at intervals

at regular intervals

Statistics for interval

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interval

The first known use of interval was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for interval



English Language Learners Definition of interval

: a period of time between events

music : the difference in pitch between two notes


in·ter·val | \ ˈin-tər-vəl \

Kids Definition of interval

1 : a period of time between events or states There was a short interval between shows.

2 : a space between things Signs were posted at regular intervals.

3 : the difference in pitch between two tones


in·ter·val | \ ˈint-ər-vəl \

Medical Definition of interval 

: a space of time between events or states intervals between pregnancies

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Comments on interval

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