Try Our Apps


What is the origin of "December"?


[in-ter-vuh l] /ˈɪn tər vəl/
an intervening period of time:
an interval of 50 years.
a period of temporary cessation; pause:
intervals between the volleys of gunfire.
a space between things, points, limits, etc.; interspace:
an interval of ten feet between posts.
  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.
the space between soldiers or units in military formation.
Music. the difference in pitch between two tones, as between two tones sounded simultaneously (harmonic interval) or between two tones sounded successively (melodic interval)
Chiefly New England. intervale.
Cards. a period in a game for placing bets.
British. an intermission, as between the acts of a play.
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 forms
intervalic, intervallic
[in-ter-val-ik] /ˌɪn tərˈvæl ɪk/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused
interval, period.
3. opening, gap, separation, gulf. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for interval
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We engage a fiacre, drive around the town, whose growth and improvement in the interval of sixteen years do not fail to strike us.

    From the Oak to the Olive Julia Ward Howe
  • So K. waited for "the season," and ate his heart out for Sidney in the interval.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • About fifty years ago the die disappeared from the Mint, but was returned after an interval of some months.

  • 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
  • An interval of nearly half a century elapsed between the death of Lucilius and the appearance of the poem of Lucretius.

    The Roman Poets of the Republic William Young Sellar
British Dictionary definitions for interval


the period of time marked off by or between two events, instants, etc
the distance between two points, objects, etc
a pause or interlude, as between periods of intense activity
(Brit) a short period between parts of a play, concert, film, etc; intermission
(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 notes: the interval between C and G is a fifth
the ratio of the frequencies of two sounds
(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
at intervals
  1. occasionally or intermittently
  2. with spaces between
Derived Forms
intervallic (ˌɪntəˈvælɪk) adjective
Word Origin
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
interval in Medicine

interval in·ter·val (ĭn'tər-vəl)

  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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for interval

Scrabble Words With Friends