See more synonyms for interval on
  1. an intervening period of time: an interval of 50 years.
  2. a period of temporary cessation; pause: intervals between the volleys of gunfire.
  3. a space between things, points, limits, etc.; interspace: an interval of ten feet between posts.
  4. Mathematics.
    1. the totality of points on a line between two designated points or endpoints that may or may not be included.
    2. any generalization of this to higher dimensions, as a rectangle with sides parallel to the coordinate axes.
  5. the space between soldiers or units in military formation.
  6. Music. the difference in pitch between two tones, as between two tones sounded simultaneously (harmonic interval) or between two tones sounded successively (melodic interval).
  7. Chiefly New England. intervale.
  8. Cards. a period in a game for placing bets.
  9. British. an intermission, as between the acts of a play.
  1. at intervals,
    1. at particular periods of time; now and then: At intervals, there were formal receptions at the governor's mansion.
    2. at particular places, with gaps in between: detour signs at intervals along the highway.

Origin of interval

1250–1300; Middle English intervall(e) < Latin intervallum interval, literally, space between two palisades. See inter-, wall
Related formsin·ter·val·ic, in·ter·val·lic [in-ter-val-ik] /ˌɪn tərˈvæl ɪk/, adjective
Can be confusedinterval period

Synonyms for interval

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for interval

Contemporary Examples of interval

Historical Examples of interval

  • So K. waited for "the season," and ate his heart out for Sidney in the interval.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • After an interval she added: "Only mother is here—always with me."

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • I dared not press him with more questions; but after an interval he said plainly: "She is not there now."

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • What sums did I spend during this interval in expedition-money to Time!

  • The Assistant Commissioner, who could not see them, grew a little nervous in the interval.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for interval


  1. the period of time marked off by or between two events, instants, etc
  2. the distance between two points, objects, etc
  3. a pause or interlude, as between periods of intense activity
  4. British a short period between parts of a play, concert, film, etc; intermission
  5. music the difference of pitch between two notes, either sounded simultaneously (harmonic interval) or in succession as in a musical part (melodic interval). An interval is calculated by counting the (inclusive) number of notes of the diatonic scale between the two notesthe interval between C and G is a fifth
  6. the ratio of the frequencies of two sounds
  7. maths the set containing all real numbers or points between two given numbers or points, called the endpoints. A closed interval includes the endpoints, but an open interval does not
  8. at intervals
    1. occasionally or intermittently
    2. with spaces between
Derived Formsintervallic (ˌɪntəˈvælɪk), adjective

Word Origin for interval

C13: from Latin intervallum, literally: space between two palisades, from inter- + vallum palisade, rampart
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for interval

early 14c., from Old French intervalle (14c.), earlier entreval (13c.), from Late Latin intervallum "space, interval, distance," originally "space between palisades or ramparts," from inter "between" (see inter-) + vallum "rampart" (see wall). Metaphoric sense of "gap in time" was present in Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

interval in Medicine


  1. A space between two objects, points, or units.
  2. The amount of time between two specified instants, events, or states.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.