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[in-ter-mish-uh n] /ˌɪn tərˈmɪʃ ən/
a short interval between the acts of a play or parts of a public performance, usually a period of approximately 10 or 15 minutes, allowing the performers and audience a rest.
a period during which action temporarily ceases; an interval between periods of action or activity:
They studied for hours without an intermission.
the act or fact of intermitting; state of being intermitted:
to work without intermission.
Origin of intermission
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin intermissiōn- (stem of intermissiō) interruption, equivalent to intermiss(us) (past participle of intermittere to intermit) + -iōn- -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for intermission
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was stuffy and hot, but Yetta, in spite of her shawl and blanket, shivered when the intermission was over.

    Comrade Yetta Albert Edwards
  • This was at the intermission after the first act of "The Beggars" opera.

    How the Piano Came to Be Ellye Howell Glover
  • The man at the piano jingled elaborately in the intermission between the two parts of the movie.

    Three Soldiers John Dos Passos
  • The three Sans had spent their intermission talking to Leslie.

  • Without a moment's intermission further orders were given him: 'Be seated; be seated!

    A Dozen Ways Of Love Lily Dougall
British Dictionary definitions for intermission


an interval, as between parts of a film
a period between events or activities; pause
the act of intermitting or the state of being intermitted
Derived Forms
intermissive, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin intermissiō, from intermittere to leave off, intermit
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
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Word Origin and History for intermission

early 15c., from Latin intermissionem (nominative intermissio) "interruption," noun of action from past participle stem of intermittere "to leave off," from inter- "between" (see inter-) + mittere "let go, send" (see mission).

Intermission is used in U.S. for what we call an interval (in a musical or dramatic performance). Under the influence of LOVE OF THE LONG WORD, it is beginning to infiltrate here and should be repelled; our own word does very well. [H.W. Fowler, "Modern English Usage," 1926]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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