intervene

verb

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

intransitive verb

1
: to occur, fall, or come between points of time or events
only six months intervened between their marriage and divorce
2
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
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.
Recent Examples on the Web In the intervening decades, Ceylan’s characters have grown chattier, his running times more distended, and his images more and more strikingly beautiful. Justin Chang, The New Yorker, 23 Feb. 2024 Video posted to social media showed Barnes putting his right hand on Lancer’s shoulder before other adults intervened. Jason Anderson, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 Barnes and Lancer exchanged words before adults intervened. Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times, 21 Feb. 2024 Morrissey filed a motion on Feb. 7 asking the judge to intervene in plea negotiations. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 The challengers then asked the Supreme Court to intervene on an emergency basis. Ann E. Marimow, Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2024 My past experiences have illuminated the vital importance of intervening early to address societal disparities and heal fractured communities. Stephanie Tharpe, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 The two men scuffled, and Robinette drew his pocketknife, leaving Alexander with several cuts before others intervened, according to the documents. CBS News, 19 Feb. 2024 Healthcare professionals do not always initiate conversations about end-of-life, perhaps concerned about causing distress, intervening with patients’ autonomy, or lacking the education and skills of how to discuss these matters. Tal Patalon, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of intervene was in 1587

Dictionary Entries Near intervene

Cite this Entry

“Intervene.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intervene. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

intervene

verb
in·​ter·​vene ˌint-ər-ˈvēn How to pronounce intervene (audio)
intervened; intervening
1
: to happen as an unrelated event
rain intervened and we canceled the game
2
: to come between points of time or between events
barely one minute intervened between the two phone calls
3
: to come between in order to stop, settle, or change
intervene to stop a fight
4
: to be or lie between
intervening hills
intervention noun

Legal Definition

intervene

intransitive verb
in·​ter·​vene ˌin-tər-ˈvēn How to pronounce intervene (audio)
intervened; intervening
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)
2
a
: 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 interveneP. A. Freund
compare implead, interplead, join
intervenor noun

More from Merriam-Webster on intervene

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