in·​ter·​val ˈin-tər-vəl How to pronounce interval (audio)
plural intervals
: a space of time between events or states
a two-month interval between medical treatments
There were long intervals during the game in which nothing exciting happened.
British : intermission
There was a twenty minute interval between acts two and three.
: the difference in pitch between two tones
: a space between objects, units, points, or states
The posts were set up at regular intervals along the road.
: one of a series of fast-paced or intense physical exercises alternated with slower or less intense ones or brief rests for training (as of an athlete) see also interval training
: a set of real numbers between two numbers either including or excluding one or both of them
intervallic 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Historical research shows that low- to moderate-intensity wildfire—sparked by either lightning or Indigenous peoples—occurred at six- to 35-year intervals, greatly reducing fuel loads. WIRED, 18 Nov. 2023 The only signs of roadside life were the silhouettes of Israeli infantrymen who guarded the route at strategic intervals. Patrick Kingsley Daniel Berehulak, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 Wrap pieces of satin, velvet, or grosgrain ribbon (5/8-inch or narrower) around the ball at equal intervals, securing the ribbons' ends with hot glue at the bottom of the ornament. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 Nov. 2023 After a sign at a Colorado theater advertising their eight-minute interval went viral, producer Apple, distributor Paramount, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker took the necessary steps to halt such modifications, on the grounds that Scorsese intended no such break. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 31 Oct. 2023 After a very British interval, the band started the second half of the show with a tricky translucent screen at the front of the stage. Brad Auerbach, SPIN, 18 Oct. 2023 Chargers remain a critical part of the equation Two years after Congress passed a law that included $5 billion to install fast chargers at 50-mile intervals along major highways, only a handful of states have awarded contracts to construct stations. Coral Davenport, New York Times, 8 Nov. 2023 Cuts at 2-inch intervals expose the chocolately filling inside. Patricia S York, Southern Living, 6 Nov. 2023 Each 1,000 additional daily steps, or about 10 minutes of walking, will reduce your risk of death to some extent, though not in predictable intervals. Byerin Prater, Fortune Well, 27 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'interval.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near interval

Cite this Entry

“Interval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​ter·​val ˈint-ər-vəl How to pronounce interval (audio)
: a period of time between events or states : pause
a three-month interval
the interval between elections
: a space between things
the interval between two desks
: difference in pitch between tones

Medical Definition


in·​ter·​val ˈint-ər-vəl How to pronounce interval (audio)
: a space of time between events or states
intervals between pregnancies

More from Merriam-Webster on interval

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