Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To explain the meaning of: interpreted the ambassador's remarks. See Synonyms at explain.
  • transitive v. To conceive the significance of; construe: interpreted his smile to be an agreement; interpreted the open door as an invitation.
  • transitive v. To present or conceptualize the meaning of by means of art or criticism.
  • transitive v. To translate orally.
  • intransitive v. To offer an explanation.
  • intransitive v. To serve as an interpreter for speakers of different languages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To explain or tell the meaning of; to expound; to translate orally into intelligible or familiar language or terms; to decipher; to define; -- applied especially to language, but also to dreams, signs, conduct, mysteries, etc.; as, to interpret the Hebrew language to an Englishman; to interpret an Indian speech.
  • v. To apprehend and represent by means of art; to show by illustrative representation; as, an actor interprets the character of Hamlet; a musician interprets a sonata; an artist interprets a landscape.
  • v. To act as an interpreter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To act as an interpreter.
  • transitive v. To explain or tell the meaning of; to expound; to translate orally into intelligible or familiar language or terms; to decipher; to define; -- applied esp. to language, but also to dreams, signs, conduct, mysteries, etc.
  • transitive v. To apprehend and represent by means of art; to show by illustrative representation

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To expound the meaning or significance of, as by translation or explanation; elucidate or unfold, as foreign or obscure language, a mystery, etc.; make plain or intelligible.
  • To show the purport of; develop or make clear by representation: as, to interpret a drama or a character by action on the stage.
  • To construe; attribute a given meaning to: as, the company interpreted his silence unfavorably.
  • Synonyms Render, Construe, etc. (see translate); Expound, Elucidate, etc. (see explain).
  • To practise interpretation; make an interpretation or explanation; tell or determine what something signifies.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. give an interpretation or rendition of
  • v. give an interpretation or explanation to
  • v. make sense of a language
  • v. create an image or likeness of
  • v. restate (words) from one language into another language
  • v. make sense of; assign a meaning to

Etymologies

Middle English interpreten, from Old French interpreter, from Latin interpretārī, from interpres, interpret-, negotiator, explainer; see per-5 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English interpreten, from Old French enterpreter, (French interpréter), from Latin interpretor ("to explain, expound, interpret"), past participle interpretatus, from interpres ("an agent, broker, explainer, interpreter, negotiator"), from inter ("between") + -pres, probably the root of pretium ("price"); -pres is probably connected with Ancient Greek φράζειν (phrazein, "to point out, show, explain, declare, speak"), from which φραδή (phrade, "understanding"), φράσις (phrasis, "speech"); see phrase. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The claim of authority to interpret is the greatest lie and has caused the greatest travesties upon the people.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Help Draft the Federalism Restoration Amendment

  • Now, let us grant that when scientists engage entities that cannot be weighed and measured they often flounder, project, and interpret from the human perspective.

    December 1st, 2008

  • Simply pretending there's nothing confounding to interpret is stupid.

    A Message About ID

  • And therefore, because of that true source of knowledge, our ability to think and our ability to interpret is more correct than theirs.

    The Education of Ali Al-Timimi

  • It is simply unimaginable that the courts will ever again interpret the commerce power as not protecting black people.

    The Hapless Toad

  • He could interpret from the Germans and had been given the job by Richard Chapman, the original camp leader.

    T/sgt. Robert Longo

  • "They are following the teachings of the Buddha, the principles of nonviolence, how to be a harmonious people," says Khenpo, the younger monk brother, in English after a pause to interpret the Tibetan words of his older brother, Rinpoche.

    The Buddhist Channel

  • That article mentions Mikael Granlund as one to watch, but from what I could interpret from the Finnish papers on the roster announcement yesterday, when Osala went on, Granlund did not.

    SBNation.com - All Posts

  • A No, my statement - you've used the word interpret a few times.

    LewRockwell.com

  • Since the latter are easier to interpret, that is where we focus our attention.

    American Grace

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