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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from interval

intervallic \ ˌin-​tər-​ˈva-​lik How to pronounce intervallic (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The initial order came in October 2016, and the electronic surveillance stretched into the summer of 2017 with a trio of extensions at three-month intervals. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Mark Meadows: 'Real probable cause concerns' with first two Carter Page FISA orders," 26 Jan. 2020 Petit rested there for four hours, but Sass had to stay for six hours plus his start differential from Saturday, when teams left Glennallen in two-minute intervals. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Nic Petit endures the cold to make it three in a row at Copper Basin 300," 14 Jan. 2020 Combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a bowl and heat in the microwave at 30-second intervals until the mixture can be stirred smooth, about 1 minute 30 seconds. Carrie Knauer,, "Carrie’s Kitchen: Making sweet food gifts for Christmas always a great idea," 9 Dec. 2019 The government has also set benchmarks for progress in artificial-intelligence development at five-year intervals. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "How TikTok Holds Our Attention," 23 Sep. 2019 Today, the tower houses a somewhat underwhelming LED that flashes at five-second intervals. Sarah Feldberg,, "Remember that viral lighthouse job? They got it," 12 Sep. 2019 Also absent from this Subaru's equipment list is an automatic maintenance monitor, so minding the vehicle's service intervals is the owner's responsibility. David Beard, Car and Driver, "Our Subaru Ascent Drinks Heavily When Towing," 24 Jan. 2020 By using those simple rules, recall follows a trajectory that loops back on itself at some random interval. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Why can’t I remember? Model may show how recall can fail," 24 Jan. 2020 With a free iFit subscription, choose from thousands of workouts that incorporate weights as well as intervals. Popular Science, "Four great treadmills for a convenient home workout," 22 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about interval

Time Traveler for interval

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for interval

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Interval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for interval


How to pronounce interval (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on interval

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!