in·​ter·​val | \ ˈin-tər-vəl How to pronounce interval (audio) \
plural intervals

Definition of interval

1a : a space of time between events or states a two-month interval between medical treatments There were long intervals during the game in which nothing exciting happened.
b British : intermission There was a twenty minute interval between acts two and three.
2 : the difference in pitch between two tones
3 : a space between objects, units, points, or states The posts were set up at regular intervals along the road.
4 : one of a series of fast-paced or intense physical exercises alternated with slower or less intense ones or brief rests for training (as of an athlete) — see also interval training
5 : a set of real numbers between two numbers either including or excluding one or both of them

Other Words from interval

intervallic \ ˌin-​tər-​ˈva-​lik How to pronounce interval (audio) \ adjective

Examples of interval in a Sentence

a three-month interval between jobs There might be long intervals during which nothing happens. The sun shone for brief intervals throughout the day. There will be a 20-minute interval between acts one and two.
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Recent Examples on the Web During the 15-minute interval where the ball dropped in New York's Times Square, his audience jumped to 24.2 million people. David Bauder, USA TODAY, 7 Jan. 2022 During the 15-minute interval where the ball dropped in New York's Times Square, his audience jumped to 24.2 million people. David Bauder, ajc, 5 Jan. 2022 Our best estimates of temperature increases during that interval are about one to two degrees Celsius—not unlike where we’re parked today, at roughly one degree C warmer than preindustrial times. Katarina Zimmer, Scientific American, 12 Aug. 2021 If the rate was lower during the first interval, the system defaults to the lower toll, Kary said. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, 6 June 2021 In Scotland, where the Delta variant of the coronavirus was dominant during the study period, immunity held up slightly better, falling to 63.7% in the same time interval. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 21 Dec. 2021 Altogether, the interval from the first Covid-19 case to vaccine approval was less than a year. John J. Ross, WSJ, 10 Dec. 2021 Wearing cozy clothes can limit your movements and stress your joints, Aburezeq said, especially when doing active work such as an online high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, class. Melanie Radzicki Mcmanus, CNN, 2 Dec. 2021 For the Vault specifically, this means strength training, yoga, pilates, sculpt and tone, mindfulness, intervals, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Larry Olmsted, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021

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

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

History and Etymology for interval

Middle English intervalle, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French entreval, from Latin intervallum space between ramparts, interval, from inter- + vallum rampart — more at wall

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Time Traveler for interval

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Interval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for interval



English Language Learners Definition of interval

: a period of time between events : pause
: the difference in pitch between two notes


in·​ter·​val | \ ˈin-tər-vəl How to pronounce interval (audio) \

Kids Definition of interval

1 : a period of time between events or states There was a short interval between shows.
2 : a space between things Signs were posted at regular intervals.
3 : the difference in pitch between two tones


in·​ter·​val | \ ˈint-ər-vəl How to pronounce interval (audio) \

Medical Definition of interval

: a space of time between events or states intervals between pregnancies

More from Merriam-Webster on interval

Nglish: Translation of interval for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of interval for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about interval


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