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

Thomas’ girlfriend also tried to intervene, but Thomas wound up shooting Franklin in the face. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "19-year-old sentenced to 30 years for killing girlfriend’s cousin who protected her in domestic assault in St. Paul," 28 Aug. 2019 Other customers try to intervene, telling the man his behavior wasn't acceptable. Houston Chronicle, "Authorities investigate Dallas postal customer's racist rant," 22 Aug. 2019 One neighbor threw a brick at the dogs, while another bystander also tried to intervene. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Dad of 9-year-old Detroit girl mauled to death by pit bulls had argued with owner, family says," 21 Aug. 2019 That has left many analysts speculating that the Trump administration could try to intervene directly in exchange markets. Karl Russell, New York Times, "As Recession Concerns Mount, Dozens of Central Banks Are Cutting Rates," 15 Aug. 2019 However, Sweden does not have a bail system and the country’s constitution forbids the prime minister, or any government minister, from trying to intervene in a legal case. Sanya Mansoor, Time, "A$AP Rocky's Guilty Verdict Doesn't Bar Him From Returning to Sweden, Says Judge Who Convicted Him," 14 Aug. 2019 The incident began just before 9:30 p.m. Monday when Duff, off duty and not in uniform, came across an active gunfight near Dixwell Avenue and Henry Street and tried to intervene, acting police Chief Otoniel Reyes said. Don Stacom,, "Search continues for armed man who shot New Haven police captain in Monday night gunfight," 13 Aug. 2019 Tsethlikai tried to intervene and got cut on her leg by Poston’s knife. Pauline Repard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Navy man found not guilty of murder after killing lover’s estranged husband," 6 Aug. 2019 The second victim, 69, from San Francisco, tried to intervene but was knocked unconscious by the suspects, officials said. Eduardo Medina,, "SF police ask public to help identify three men suspected of strong-arm robbery," 30 July 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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Statistics for intervene

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intervene

The first known use of intervene was in 1587

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More Definitions for intervene



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.


intransitive verb
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).


concealment of treason or felony

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