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[in-tur-prit] /ɪnˈtɜr prɪt/
verb (used with object)
to give or provide the meaning of; explain; explicate; elucidate:
to interpret the hidden meaning of a parable.
to construe or understand in a particular way:
to interpret a reply as favorable.
to bring out the meaning of (a dramatic work, music, etc.) by performance or execution.
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.
to translate orally.
  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).
verb (used without object)
to translate what is said in a foreign language.
to explain something; give an explanation.
Origin of interpret
1350-1400; Middle English interpreten < Latin interpretārī, derivative of interpret- (stem of interpres) explainer
Related forms
interpretable, adjective
interpretability, interpretableness, noun
interpretably, adverb
noninterpretability, noun
noninterpretable, adjective
preinterpret, verb (used with object)
reinterpret, verb
self-interpreted, adjective
self-interpreting, adjective
uninterpretable, adjective
uninterpreted, adjective
well-interpreted, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See explain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for reinterpret
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He earnestly desired to reinterpret Christianity in the new light of his time, yet perhaps no part of his work is so futile.

    Edward Caldwell Moore Edward Moore
  • 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.

    What Will People Say? Rupert Hughes
British Dictionary definitions for reinterpret


verb (transitive)
to interpret (an idea, etc) in a new or different way
Derived Forms
reinterpretation, noun


(transitive) to clarify or explain the meaning of; elucidate
(transitive) to construe the significance or intention of: to interpret a smile as an invitation
(transitive) to convey or represent the spirit or meaning of (a poem, song, etc) in performance
(intransitive) to act as an interpreter; translate orally
Derived Forms
interpretable, adjective
interpretability, interpretableness, noun
interpretably, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin interpretārī, from interpres negotiator, one who explains, from inter- + -pres, probably related to pretiumprice
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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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