in·​ter·​vene | \ ˌin-tər-ˈvēn How to pronounce intervene (audio) \
intervened; intervening

Definition of intervene

intransitive verb

1 : to occur, fall, or come between points of time or events only six months intervened between their marriage and divorce
2 : to enter or appear as an irrelevant or extraneous feature or circumstance it's business as usual until a crisis intervenes
3a : to come in or between by way of hindrance or modification intervene to stop a fight
b : to interfere with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process (as to prevent harm or improve functioning)
4 : to occur or lie between two things
5a : to become a third party to a legal proceeding begun by others for the protection of an alleged interest
b : to interfere usually by force or threat of force in another nation's internal affairs especially to compel or prevent an action

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Choose the Right Synonym for intervene

interpose, interfere, intervene, mediate, intercede mean to come or go between. interpose often implies no more than this. interposed herself between him and the door interfere implies hindering. noise interfered with my concentration intervene may imply an occurring in space or time between two things or a stepping in to stop a conflict. quarreled until the manager intervened mediate implies intervening between hostile factions. mediated between the parties intercede implies acting for an offender in begging mercy or forgiveness. interceded on our behalf

Examples of intervene in a Sentence

Twenty years intervened between their first and last meetings. The prisoner asked me to intervene with the authorities on his behalf. The military had to intervene to restore order. We will leave on time unless some crisis intervenes.
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Recent Examples on the Web The victim, 49-year-old Oliver Williams, intervened when Brim tried to steal the shoes of another man, authorities said. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: A bizarre and deadly attack on BART," 21 Nov. 2019 The most serious is Case 4000, in which Mr Netanyahu is accused of having intervened in media regulation on behalf of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecoms company. The Economist, "Binyamin Netanyahu vows to fight on despite charges of bribery and fraud," 21 Nov. 2019 Hathaway reacted to fight Grant before Anaheim's Nick Ritchie and Gudbranson intervened. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "NHL suspends Washington Capitals' Garnet Hathaway three games for spitting incident," 21 Nov. 2019 There’s a Time and Place’ As one heckler approached the bench area, continuing to speak toward the players, security guards intervened to diffuse the situation. Eric Todisco,, "LeBron James Becomes First Player to Triple-Double Against All 30 NBA Teams," 20 Nov. 2019 But the situation in St. Paul is particularly acute, so much so that the federal government is intervening to help. John Phelan, Twin Cities, "John Phelan: Crime, budget, population numbers suggest public safety needs more attention in St. Paul," 20 Nov. 2019 Shaky ground Faisal Kawoosa, a telecom expert, says given the current scenario, only two private players will be left unless the government intervenes. Mansi Taneja, Quartz India, "Unless the government intervenes, Indian telecom will hurtle towards a duopoly," 18 Nov. 2019 But some believe that the government intervened based on intelligence that the group was arming itself. Jideofor Adibe, Quartz Africa, "How Boko Haram went from a peaceful Islamic sect to one of the world’s deadliest terrorists in a decade," 14 Nov. 2019 Seismic’s first iteration was meant to take place at Carson Creek Ranch (the former home of Euphoria Festival), but 2018’s tropical storm season intervened. Megan Venzin, Billboard, "Meet the Married Couple Bringing Underground Electronic Artists to Austin," 14 Nov. 2019

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

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for intervene

Latin intervenire to come between, from inter- + venire to come — more at come

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Time Traveler for intervene

Time Traveler

The first known use of intervene was in 1587

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Statistics for intervene

Last Updated

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Intervene.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for intervene


How to pronounce intervene (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intervene

: to come or occur between two times or events
: to become involved in something (such as a conflict) in order to have an influence on what happens
: to happen as an unrelated event that causes a delay or problem


in·​ter·​vene | \ ˌin-tər-ˈvēn How to pronounce intervene (audio) \
intervened; intervening

Kids Definition of intervene

1 : to come or occur between events, places, or points of time One week intervened between games.
2 : to interfere with something so as to stop, settle, or change I intervened in their quarrel.
in·​ter·​vene | \ ˌin-tər-ˈvēn How to pronounce intervene (audio) \
intervened; intervening

Legal Definition of intervene

1 : to occur, fall, or come between points of time or events may be held liable even though other independent agencies intervene between his negligence and the ultimate resultHooks Superx, Inc. v. McLaughlin, 642 N.E.2d 514 (1994)
2a : to come in or between by way of hindrance or modification intervene to stop a fight
b : to become a party to a legal proceeding begun by others in order to protect an alleged interest in the subject matter of the proceeding the Commissioner of Internal Revenue was granted leave to intervene— P. A. Freund — compare implead, interplead, join

Other Words from intervene

intervenor \ -​ˈvē-​nər, -​ˌnȯr How to pronounce intervenor (audio) \ noun

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Comments on intervene

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


very cautious or careful

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