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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for intervallic

Historical Examples of intervallic

  • Intervallic characteristics may place the badge of relationship upon melodies as distinctly as rhythmic.

    How to Listen to Music, 7th ed.

    Henry Edward Krehbiel

British Dictionary definitions for intervallic


  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 intervallic



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

intervallic 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.