in·​ter·​val | \ ˈin-tər-vəl How to pronounce interval (audio) \

Definition of interval

1a : a space of time between events or states
b British : intermission
2a : the difference in pitch between two tones
b : a space between objects, units, points, or states
3 : one of a series of fast-paced exercises interspersed with slower ones or brief rests for training (as of an athlete)
4 : a set of real numbers between two numbers either including or excluding one or both of them

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Other Words from interval

intervallic \ ˌin-​tər-​ˈva-​lik How to pronounce interval (audio) \ 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 Could a longer interval between first and second doses make a COVID vaccine more effective? Marla Broadfoot, Scientific American, "Is It Safe to Delay a Second COVID Vaccine Dose?," 10 Feb. 2021 There is no maximum interval between doses, but how delayed shots may affect protection is unclear, the CDC reports. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Oregon leaders blame federal government for derailing vaccine rollout," 18 Jan. 2021 One problem that’s persisted is the interval between when targets are selected by mission planners and the bombs actually striking their targets. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Testing Bombs That Can Talk," 15 Jan. 2021 One government health adviser said the 90% efficacy could be more related to a longer interval between doses than to the size of the dose itself. Jenny Strasburg, WSJ, "AstraZeneca and Oxford’s Bumpy Partnership Hangs Over Covid Vaccine’s Future," 31 Dec. 2020 In making its programming decisions for the interval between the end of the 2020 presidential election and the holiday season, the top brass at Showtime reverted to what had once been standard fare in Hollywood and elsewhere: Reagan bashing. Alvin S. Felzenberg, National Review, "Showtime’s Pathetic Exercise in Reagan Bashing," 19 Dec. 2020 During the interval, the couple also met a small number of families to hear more about their experiences over the past year. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Family night out: Prince William, Duchess Kate bring George, Charlotte and Louis on first red carpet," 11 Dec. 2020 Visit the Beaverton School District Brainboost website to find ideas for engaging in physical activity, from quick or calming movements to high-intensity interval Tabata training for kids and adults. oregonlive, "Get fit in your house: Oregon PE teacher’s 10 fun tricks to shape up," 20 Oct. 2020 If Biden or Trump should die during this interval, the political parties would likely provide guidance for the electors to choose the vice presidential candidate instead. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "What happens if Trump or Biden dies before the election?," 17 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for interval

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for interval

Last Updated

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Interval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce interval (audio) \

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 How to pronounce interval (audio) \

Medical Definition of interval

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

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