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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Gia even created a petition on behalf of her, her siblings and Teresa urging Trump to intervene. Joelle Goldstein,, "Teresa Giudice Shares Her Anguish About Husband Joe 'Missing Out on So Much' If He Gets Deported," 20 June 2019 Others tried to intervene at the Doube Dragon restaurant, but Chen pointed the gun, later determined to be a BB gun, in a threatening manner at the crowd. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Man Attempts To Kidnap Black Child From Kroger," 8 June 2019 As officers tried to intervene, Jyles pulled away and resisted the officers, according to police. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Plano man facing felony drug charge," 4 June 2019 In 2012, the US asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to intervene, and in 2014, the WTO said that China's restriction of rare-earth-metals exports violated international trade law. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "China’s saber-rattling on rare-earths trade has US officials looking for options," 30 May 2019 Meanwhile, state lawmakers and bureaucrats watch from the sidelines, reluctant to intervene. Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, ProPublica, "Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing," 22 May 2019 Views come and views go, but this one won’t have anything intervening for a very long time; bettered still by the sellers, who reportedly trimmed the vista with another $300,000 in festooning their yard. Mark Samuelson, The Denver Post, "With a premium half-acre site overlooking Fox Hollow and foothills, ranch is $1.5M," 7 June 2019 The intervening two decades have only hardened my stance. Mark Mravic,, "The NFL Should Get Rid of Replay Reviews Entirely," 7 June 2019 The unsealing came after lawyers for the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ-FM 91.5 intervened to open the proceedings. Madeline Buckley,, "Judge to hold closed-door hearing on what documents will remain under seal in court fight between R. Kelly and ex-wife," 6 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about intervene

Statistics for intervene

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intervene

The first known use of intervene was in 1587

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!