Definition of interpret verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

        

    interpret

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ɪnˈtɜːprɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈtɜːrprɪt//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they interpret
    BrE BrE//ɪnˈtɜːprɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈtɜːrprɪt//
     
    he / she / it interprets
    BrE BrE//ɪnˈtɜːprɪts//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈtɜːrprɪts//
     
    past simple interpreted
    BrE BrE//ɪnˈtɜːprɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈtɜːrprɪtɪd//
     
    past participle interpreted
    BrE BrE//ɪnˈtɜːprɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈtɜːrprɪtɪd//
     
    -ing form interpreting
    BrE BrE//ɪnˈtɜːprɪtɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈtɜːrprɪtɪŋ//
     
     
    jump to other results
  1. 1  [transitive] interpret something to explain the meaning of something The students were asked to interpret the poem.
  2. 2  [transitive] to decide that something has a particular meaning and to understand it in this way interpret something as something I didn't know whether to interpret her silence as acceptance or refusal. interpret something The data can be interpreted in many different ways. compare misinterpret
  3. 3  [intransitive] interpret (for somebody) to translate one language into another as you hear it She couldn't speak much English so her children had to interpret for her.
  4. 4[transitive] interpret something to perform a piece of music, a role in a play, etc. in a way that shows your feelings about its meaning He interpreted the role with a lot of humour.
  5. Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French interpreter or Latin interpretari ‘explain, translate’, from interpres, interpret- ‘agent, translator, interpreter’.Extra examples Different people might interpret events differently. Her message was interpreted as a warning to the general. Her resignation has been widely interpreted as an admission of her guilt. It is context and convention that determine whether a term will be interpreted literally or metaphorically. The figure of the Ancient Mariner has been variously interpreted. The strictness of the rules, even when liberally interpreted, has the effect of restricting innovation. The term ‘business’ is here interpreted broadly to include all types of organization in the public and private sectors. The title could be interpreted to mean ‘human intelligence’. These figures cannot be easily interpreted. These results must be interpreted cautiously. We all seek to interpret what we hear and what we read. judges who will faithfully interpret the Constitution I didn’t know whether to interpret her silence as acceptance or refusal. The figure of the Ancient Mariner in the poem has been variously interpreted.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: interpret