Synonyms & Antonyms of interpret

1 to make plain or understandable
  • a biblical passage that scholars haven't been able to interpret to everyone's satisfaction

Synonyms for interpret

Words Related to interpret

Near Antonyms for interpret

Antonyms for interpret

2 to present a portrayal or performance of
  • interpreted the role of Fletcher Christian in a challengingly new way

Synonyms for interpret

Words Related to interpret

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Frequently Asked Questions About interpret

How does the verb interpret contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of interpret are elucidate, explain, explicate, and expound. While all these words mean "to make something clear or understandable," interpret adds to explain the need for imagination or sympathy or special knowledge in dealing with something.

interpreting a work of art

When can elucidate be used instead of interpret?

The meanings of elucidate and interpret largely overlap; however, elucidate stresses the throwing of light upon as by offering details or motives previously unclear or only implicit.

elucidate an obscure passage

When would explain be a good substitute for interpret?

While the synonyms explain and interpret are close in meaning, explain implies a making plain or intelligible what is not immediately obvious or entirely known.

explain the rules

When is it sensible to use explicate instead of interpret?

In some situations, the words explicate and interpret are roughly equivalent. However, explicate adds the idea of a developed or detailed analysis.

explicate a poem

When might expound be a better fit than interpret?

The words expound and interpret can be used in similar contexts, but expound implies a careful often elaborate explanation.

expounding a scientific theory

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Time Traveler for interpret

Time Traveler

The first known use of interpret was in the 14th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near interpret




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Cite this Entry

“Interpret.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on interpret

Nglish: Translation of interpret for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of interpret for Arabic Speakers


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