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[in-tur-pri-tiv] /ɪnˈtɜr prɪ tɪv/
serving to interpret; explanatory.
deduced by interpretation.
made because of interpretation:
an interpretive distortion of language.
of or pertaining to those arts that require an intermediary, as a performer, for realization, as in music or theater.
offering interpretations, explanations, or guidance, as through lectures, brochures, or films:
the museum's interpretive center.
1670-80; interpret + -ive
Related forms
interpretively, adverb
noninterpretive, adjective
noninterpretively, adverb
noninterpretiveness, noun
self-interpretive, adjective
uninterpretive, adjective
uninterpretively, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for interpretive
  • There is an interpretive center with an explanatory movie and also a gift shop.
  • Unlike the formal part, the interpretive part relies on a natural language.
  • Many have become unhinged by the interpretive power of a simple idea.
  • Designing and interpreting these experiments is difficult and fraught with interpretive pitfalls.
  • So there might be some interpretive noise going on in these results.
  • But such instances of interpretive overreach are scarce.
  • He is suing the state to prevent any interpretive liberties taken with voter intent within the write-in candidate field.
  • Its answers to questions were canned and its interpretive powers were extremely limited.
  • Her strongly interpretive playing has made her a favorite among many conductors and reviewers.
  • Along with exhibits on forge history in the old blast furnace, an interpretive path guides you around the site.
British Dictionary definitions for interpretive


of, involving, or providing interpretation; expository
Derived Forms
interpretatively, interpretively, adverb
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 interpretive

1670s, from interpret + -ive; also see interpretative. Listed by Fowler among the words "that for one reason or another should not have been brought into existence."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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