interpret

verb
in·​ter·​pret | \ in-ˈtər-prət How to pronounce interpret (audio) , -pət \
interpreted; interpreting; interprets

Essential Meaning of interpret

1 : to explain the meaning of (something) interpret a dream We need someone to interpret these results for us. How should we interpret the law/rules/decision?
2 : to understand (something) in a specified way I interpreted his behavior to mean that he disliked me.
3 : to perform (something, such as a song or a role) in a way that shows your own thoughts and feelings about it Every actor interprets the role of Hamlet a little differently.

Full Definition of interpret

transitive verb

1 : to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms interpret dreams needed help interpreting the results
2 : to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance : construe interpret a contract
3 : to represent by means of art : bring to realization by performance or direction interprets a role

intransitive verb

: to act as an interpreter between speakers of different languages

Other Words from interpret

interpretability \ in-​ˌtər-​prə-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce interpret (audio) , -​pə-​tə-​ \ noun
interpretable \ in-​ˈtər-​prə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce interpret (audio) , -​pə-​tə-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for interpret

explain, expound, explicate, elucidate, interpret mean to make something clear or understandable. explain implies a making plain or intelligible what is not immediately obvious or entirely known. explain the rules expound implies a careful often elaborate explanation. expounding a scientific theory explicate adds the idea of a developed or detailed analysis. explicate a poem elucidate stresses the throwing of light upon as by offering details or motives previously unclear or only implicit. elucidate an obscure passage interpret adds to explain the need for imagination or sympathy or special knowledge in dealing with something. interpreting a work of art

Examples of interpret in a Sentence

We need someone to interpret these results for us. How should we interpret the law? I interpreted his behavior to mean that he disliked me. Every actor interprets the role of Hamlet a little differently.
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Recent Examples on the Web Rankings of the over-the-counter tests were based on things such as ease of handling, clear instructions and ability to interpret results. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 10 Jan. 2022 Unlike less accurate antigen tests, which can be used at the point of care and deliver results within minutes, PCR tests typically require the use of lab equipment as well as technicians who are trained to process and interpret the results. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 15 Dec. 2021 Perlis said more research is needed to interpret the results appropriately. NBC News, 24 Nov. 2021 Unlike in-clinic or at-home tests that are proctored by health care providers, at-home antigen tests don’t require a proctor to interpret results. Maddie Bender, STAT, 15 Oct. 2021 The series gives an introduction to what DNA is and how to interpret test results. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 May 2021 During this phase, the team also needs to develop standard operating procedures and training documents to guide security analysts on how to interpret the processing results and the response actions. Beenu Arora, Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021 Andrew Tobias reports lawyers for both sides repeated their arguments in court as justices consider how to interpret anti-gerrymandering reforms overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2015. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 9 Dec. 2021 But greater clarity is expected when the Treasury Department issues regulations for how to interpret and implement the law's reporting requirements. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 6 Dec. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interpret.' 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 interpret

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for interpret

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French interpreter, from Latin interpretari, from interpret-, interpres agent, negotiator, interpreter

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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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Dictionary Entries Near interpret

interpr

interpret

interpretament

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Statistics for interpret

Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Interpret.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interpret. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for interpret

interpret

verb
in·​ter·​pret | \ in-ˈtər-prət How to pronounce interpret (audio) \
interpreted; interpreting

Kids Definition of interpret

1 : to explain the meaning of She claims to interpret dreams.
2 : to understand in a particular way He interpreted Cluny's order as the much-coveted promotion to second-in-command.— Brian Jacques, Redwall
3 : to bring out the meaning of An actor interprets a role.

interpret

transitive verb
in·​ter·​pret | \ in-ˈtər-prət How to pronounce interpret (audio) \

Legal Definition of interpret

: to explain or tell the meaning of (as a document) especially in order to determine intent they must interpret the provisions of the Constitution— L. H. Tribe

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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