Definitions

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

  • n. A space, especially a small or narrow one, between things or parts: "There is a gleam of luminous gold, where the sinking western sun has found a first direct interstice in the clouds” ( John Fowles).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small opening or space between objects, especially adjacent objects or objects set closely together, as between cords in a rope or components of a multiconductor electrical cable or between atoms in a crystal.
  • n. An interval of time required by the Roman Catholic Church between the attainment of different degrees of an order.
  • n. By extension, a small interval of time free to be spent on activities other than one's primary goal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which intervenes between one thing and another; especially, a space between things closely set, or between the parts which compose a body; a narrow chink; a crack; a crevice; a hole; an interval.
  • n. An interval of time; specifically (R. C. Ch.), in the plural, the intervals which the canon law requires between the reception of the various degrees of orders.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An intervening space; an opening; especially, a small or narrow space between apposed surfaces or things; a gap, chink, slit, crevice, or cranny.
  • n. In canon law, the interval of time required for promotion from a lower to a higher degree of orders.

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

  • n. a small structural space between tissues or parts of an organ
  • n. small opening between things

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin interstitium, from *interstitus, past participle of intersistere, to pause, make a break : inter-, inter- + sistere, to cause to stand, set up; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Bourriaud considers the relational form of artwork as social "interstice," a place to learn to inhabit the world in a better way, where art "tightens the space of relations" between spectators so that art becomes a glue of social relations.

    Monica Westin: Art in the Time of Midterms: Museum as Democracy and the MCA's New Show

  • And upon tearing her world asunder in a moment, the forces leave her to go be insane somewhere else, and she doesn't even know what the fuck. points out how there is this 'interstice' between what we consider real-life and what is urban mythology.

    Anime Nano!

  • Between the stories that I do tell there are interstices, some shallow, some deep, and in these interstice lay the stories that I do not, for one reason or another, tell.

    A Closer Bridge To Home - Her Bad Mother

  • Each snapshot moment encapsulates a state, every congruity and interstice between them suggests a transformation, and -- assuming the viewer actually gets it -- the film resolves into an excruciatingly tender and poignant portrayal of a relationship.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • Are we back in the Western here, still in it with Sigurh as Palance, Moss as the hero who's going to have to take him on, or some innocent homesteader doomed to be just another victim ... or are we now somewhere else entirely, shifted by the subjunctivities and modalities of Crime and Horror to an uncertain interstice between the genres?

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • The collaging of narratives in "A Tale of Plagues and Carnivals" makes each section and each interstice between them a pataphysical quirk.

    Notes on Strange Fiction: The Pataphysical Quirk

  • But how else to really grasp what happened at Qana other than through a single story in the interstice between politics and violence, the story Hala told when she spoke of her babies and not of her love for Hassan Nasrallah?

    A Privilege to Die

  • Have to stop dumping toxic waste in the third cosmic interstice, things like that.

    The Lives of Felix Gunderson

  • But then, as the final drops reach the ground and many more perch unsteadily on the now dustless leaves, at that unprotected moment, when you are not quite sure that it has finally ceased raining, and neither is the rain itself, in that very interstice, everything becomes serene.

    Excerpt: The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

  • The two-and-a-half-foot interstice between the two layers maximizes the circulation of cooled air mandatory for a glass-skinned building in the desert-like Attic climate.

    Grading the New Acropolis

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • This World War II defensive structure was known as an interstice, presumably from the small space the gunner had to crawl into.

    January 25, 2010

  • We were gazing all along
    her imbedded yellow thong,
    until sweet Lily cursed us
    --for adoring her interstice

    November 5, 2009

  • Rarely used in the singular.

    November 24, 2007

  • Such a nice knitty word. Just saying it is like splicing together a tricky seam.

    December 7, 2006