Definition of interpolate in English:



[with object]
  • 1Insert (something of a different nature) into something else.

    ‘illustrations were interpolated in the text’
    • ‘She interpolates historical footage of Greek immigrants coming to Australia, suggesting the hold the past - however distant - continues to have on a schizoid community.’
    • ‘The action of the bakery is interpolated with scenes of domestic discord: the declining relationship between Di and her husband, conducted over ritualistically awkward meals.’
    • ‘Looks to me like your fantastic mother of a brain is interpolating multimodal evidence as to the physical air-blockage position in realtime.’
    • ‘The viewer feels he has seen enough variety to allow the imagination to interpolate all potential additional variations.’
    • ‘This interpolates between rotation values, and is suitable for routing into a Transform node's set rotation field.’
    • ‘He kept interpolating his speech with a number of anecdotes, which made the interaction lively.’
    • ‘Valuable commentaries are interpolated into the main text, using a slightly smaller typeface which took me a little time to adjust to (though vastly preferable to a mass of italic print).’
    • ‘By interpolating between imbalances differing by a pawn, it was possible to express the results in terms of fractions of a pawn.’
    • ‘The easiest method is to conceal the changes in the publishing process - i.e., by allowing the editor to interpolate freely.’
    • ‘Sometimes the cause of clear, logical sequence is best served - paradoxically - by interpolating asides, a way of having your cake and eating it too.’
    • ‘Actual film footage is interpolated into the standard narrative, along with ‘re-created’ film footage made to look real, not to mention ‘simulated’ home movies to make us see what's happening as if by accident.’
    • ‘To date, this is the best estimate for the duration of the Emsian stage because it was interpolated between two methodically consistent and biostratigraphically well-bracketed isotopic ages.’
    • ‘We had no TV, so we had no idea what a Sobers sweep or a Hall bouncer actually looked like; we were left to interpolate between newspaper stills and glossies from cricket books.’
    • ‘The remaining 20 percent of the delivery times linearly were interpolated between 10 and 20 minutes, with the upper bound set at 20 minutes.’
    • ‘This is achieved by cutting and interpolating shots to make the sequence (montage).’
    • ‘Captain Britain wasn't an ersatz copy of an American hero any more; the authors interpolated him into a more densely-realised realm of Druidic myths.’
    • ‘He didn't cut the score, or interpolate pop songs into it; it really was ‘Bohème.’’
    • ‘In the score's fourth section, the composer interpolates a text from a poem called ‘The Dream,’ written by the 19th century Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.’
    • ‘Medieval theologians interpolated this passage into the canon law doctrine ‘Scientia Donum Dei Est, Unde Vendi Non Potest’ (Knowledge is a gift from God, consequently it cannot be sold).’
    • ‘But as he describes the exhibition, interpolating incidents from Hamilton's career, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the curators actually got it right.’
    insert, interpose, introduce, enter, add, incorporate, inset, implant, build, put
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Insert (words) in a book or other text, especially in order to give a false impression as to its date.
      • ‘In my previous post on ‘under God,’ I missed the real meaning of the expression, as Lincoln and others used it - and so, by a wide mark, did the people who interpolated it in the Pledge.’
      • ‘Horrell finds the hypothesis that these verses were interpolated as plausible and concludes that they were likely a marginal note from church practice incorporated into the text at an early stage of transmission.’
      • ‘Several verses of the work song ‘John Henry’ ‘show internal evidence of being interpolated from English ballads’.’
      • ‘In the case of Mrs Burdett, this seems unlikely: the extract fits neatly between other entries, written in the same handwriting, and so there is no evidence that it has been interpolated at a later date.’
      • ‘It would involve interpolating the word ‘only’ either before or after the words ‘taken in respect of the guarantee’.’
      • ‘Her effort was not merely to interpolate folk sayings in her novels; it was to write fiction according to the aesthetic principles that undergirded oral culture.’
      • ‘In the later collage poetry this materialism interpolates political and economic facts with society verbiage, relating to Boston's high society and the heiresses tracked by gossip columnists.’
      • ‘Questions are profusely interpolated into the authorial commentary and characters interrogate themselves and others constantly.’
    2. 1.2 Alter or enlarge (a text) by insertion of new material.
      • ‘If I decrease the resolution to anything other than the native resolution, images and text are interpolated.’
      • ‘It is possible that later Christians not only interpolated this statement, but also removed some negative comments about Jesus of which they disapproved.’
      • ‘To make it so would be to interpolate into the text of the Refugee Convention definition of refugee an additional requirement of international condemnation.’
      • ‘Tear a page from a book and you may be able to interpolate.’
    3. 1.3Mathematics Insert (an intermediate value or term) into a series by estimating or calculating it from surrounding known values.
      • ‘If needed, the missing values may be interpolated by averaging the exchangeability-as-source of the source amino acid, and the exchangeability-as-destination of the destination amino acid.’
      • ‘He would interpolate values between his data points and he did this using a cubic interpolation formula.’
      • ‘This means that instead of having to interpolate the values of neighbouring pixels the X3 sensor ‘sees’ full colour at individual pixel locations.’
      • ‘For the Hamiltonian matrix elements, spline-fitted functions of time were used to interpolate values from the trajectory calculations.’
      • ‘The graph tracer did not always allow the proper coordinates to be read directly; in those cases, values were interpolated on the basis of the coordinates that could be read.’
  • 2Interject (a remark) in a conversation.

    with direct speech ‘‘I dare say,’ interpolated her employer’
    • ‘I should interpolate that his friends generally read to him to save his eyes.’
    • ‘If I could just interpolate there, when one sees the definition of act in the Northern Territory Code, the way in which it is expressed is: in relation to an accused person, means the deed alleged to have been done by him…’
    • ‘I pause to interpolate, the witness answers on the basis that it could have been.’
    • ‘Additionally, he tends to repeat these statements from week to week, waiting for the pause in the conversation so he can interpolate them.’


Early 17th century: from Latin interpolat- ‘refurbished, altered’, from the verb interpolare, from inter- ‘between’ + -polare (related to polire ‘to polish’).