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
2a : to interfere with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process (as to prevent harm or improve functioning)
b : to come in or between by way of hindrance or modification intervene to stop a fight
3 : to enter or appear as an irrelevant or extraneous feature or circumstance it's business as usual until a crisis intervenes
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 Later that year, Turner wrote a letter to the FDA, asking the agency to intervene. Megan Molteni, STAT, "Six patients with dementia went to Mexico for an unproven gene therapy, a biotech CEO claims," 3 May 2021 Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined Maria Bartiromo in an exclusive one-on-one at the southern border Sunday - breaking down the crisis he's seen firsthand, and what the federal government could be doing to intervene. Fox News Staff, Fox News, "Gov. Abbott and Maria Bartiromo tour Texas border: 'No security whatsoever'," 3 May 2021 Proponents of housing deregulation have therefore been interested in getting higher levels of government to intervene. Ramesh Ponnuru, Star Tribune, "Deregulation is key to affordable housing," 1 May 2021 Companies are increasingly pushing regulators and courts to intervene. Adam Satariano, New York Times, "Apple’s App Store Draws E.U. Antitrust Charge," 30 Apr. 2021 While his defense attorneys are allowed to petition New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to block the extradition, the governor is not expected to intervene. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "Judge gives Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys 30 days to challenge extradition to L.A.," 30 Apr. 2021 So far, the administration hasn't shown any urgency to intervene. Andrea Ruth, Washington Examiner, "Buying or building a home continues to get costlier," 29 Apr. 2021 The lawsuit accuses Boley of using excessive force while claiming the other troopers failed to intervene and that their actions constituted assault and battery that ended in Williams' wrongful death. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Family sues Indiana State Police troopers over man's fatal shooting in traffic stop," 29 Apr. 2021 The governor asked a court Tuesday to block a new law that legislators passed giving themselves more authority to intervene when the state’s chief executive declares an emergency. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Burning Man, motel vaccinations, eviction law help: News from around our 50 states," 28 Apr. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intervene.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 intervene (audio) \ noun

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Comments on intervene

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