• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to give or provide the meaning of; explain; explicate; elucidate: to interpret the hidden meaning of a parable.
  2. to construe or understand in a particular way: to interpret a reply as favorable.
  3. to bring out the meaning of (a dramatic work, music, etc.) by performance or execution.
  4. to perform or render (a song, role in a play, etc.) according to one's own understanding or sensitivity: The actor interpreted Lear as a weak, pitiful old man.
  5. to translate orally.
  6. Computers.
    1. to use an interpreter to transform (a program written in a high-level language) into a sequence of machine actions, one statement at a time, executing each statement immediately before going on to transform the next one.
    2. to read (the patterns of holes in punched cards) with an interpreter, printing the interpreted data on the same cards so that they can be read more conveniently by people.
    See also interpreter(def 3).
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verb (used without object)
  1. to translate what is said in a foreign language.
  2. to explain something; give an explanation.
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Origin of interpret

1350–1400; Middle English interpreten < Latin interpretārī, derivative of interpret- (stem of interpres) explainer
Related formsin·ter·pret·a·ble, adjectivein·ter·pret·a·bil·i·ty, in·ter·pret·a·ble·ness, nounin·ter·pret·a·bly, adverbnon·in·ter·pret·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·in·ter·pret·a·ble, adjectivepre·in·ter·pret, verb (used with object)re·in·ter·pret, verbself-in·ter·pret·ed, adjectiveself-in·ter·pret·ing, adjectiveun·in·ter·pret·a·ble, adjectiveun·in·ter·pret·ed, adjectivewell-in·ter·pret·ed, adjective

Synonym study

1. See explain.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reinterpret

Contemporary Examples of reinterpret

Historical Examples of reinterpret

  • He earnestly desired to reinterpret Christianity in the new light of his time, yet perhaps no part of his work is so futile.

  • He tried to reinterpret Angelina's letter differently, calling his deduction an error.

    When the Owl Cries

    Paul Bartlett

  • How would you reinterpret Aristotle's and Hobbes's conception of human nature in the light of this definition?

  • Even her nobler motives she tended to reinterpret from some cynical point of view.

British Dictionary definitions for reinterpret


verb (tr)
  1. to interpret (an idea, etc) in a new or different way
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Derived Formsreinterpretation, noun


  1. (tr) to clarify or explain the meaning of; elucidate
  2. (tr) to construe the significance or intention ofto interpret a smile as an invitation
  3. (tr) to convey or represent the spirit or meaning of (a poem, song, etc) in performance
  4. (intr) to act as an interpreter; translate orally
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Derived Formsinterpretable, adjectiveinterpretability or interpretableness, nouninterpretably, adverb

Word Origin for interpret

C14: from Latin interpretārī, from interpres negotiator, one who explains, from inter- + -pres, probably related to pretium price
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 reinterpret



late 14c., from Old French interpreter (13c.) and directly from Latin interpretari "explain, expound, understand," from interpres "agent, translator," from inter- (see inter-) + second element of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Sanskrit prath- "to spread abroad," PIE *per- (5) "to traffic in, sell" (see pornography). Related: Interpreted; interpreting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper