Definition of intern in US English:



  • 1A student or trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience.

    • ‘Every July student interns come to TFI to research everything from the improving water quality of local streams to using ants as indicator species for forest regeneration.’
    • ‘Student interns must place these turtles on the ground in front of the oncoming tornadoes, then get the hell out of the way.’
    • ‘The project may be based on a suggestion from the SFI mentor, an idea from the student intern, or a combination of the two.’
    • ‘Training for the student interns will be done during the week of May 13-17.’
    • ‘This means a consistent schedule for student interns of Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for four to five hours each day, requiring no pay, and providing their own transportation.’
    • ‘Maybe your manager can look into hiring a student intern to be assigned the task of serving customers on the phone.’
    • ‘Many firms I have worked with hire student interns during the summer to produce high-quality plans and drawings.’
    • ‘In 2003, two alumni returned for a second year of summer work, and three new students were hired as interns.’
    • ‘Whether you graduated fairly recently or some time ago, we likely all share the same view that there is a vast amount of professional knowledge we never gained as undergraduates or interns.’
    • ‘While paying an intern is probably not required, just understand that students are motivated by money too.’
    • ‘He and student interns rely on computer databases to track the hundreds of plants in production throughout the facility's five greenhouses.’
    • ‘For the first four years of its existence, SAR was only one full-time employee, with student interns and volunteers helping out.’
    • ‘Twenty student interns make it out, and I finish our first major document, the Field Manual, which absorbs the syllabus.’
    • ‘Most people would see a problem in the example I just gave, but how about this one: A student intern came to work at a church for a year.’
    • ‘He also works as an intern at MSU's student-run organic farm, home to a CSA that operates an incredible 48 weeks.’
    • ‘The rationale for this change is that the current curriculum is too theoretical and interns do not gain all exit competencies necessary for service delivery.’
    • ‘We would never be able to make it without the number of student volunteers and interns.’
    • ‘And, it found an unexpected bonus - student interns and workers.’
    • ‘It's the very work architecture students and interns here have long cut their teeth on.’
    • ‘Clearly, mentors can shape the professional use of humor by their trainees and interns through their explicit contingent approval of any efforts toward the appropriate use of therapeutic humor.’
    trainee, apprentice, probationer, student, novice, learner, beginner
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A recent medical graduate receiving supervised training in a hospital and acting as an assistant physician or surgeon.
      Compare with resident
      • ‘There are many other opportunities for the intern, either pediatric or obstetric, or the family practice resident to gain skills in the intubation of larger infants.’
      • ‘A recent study of interns and residents underscores the impact of sleep on performance.’
      • ‘The young man, an intern at the hospital, gasped.’
      • ‘Medical interns who work long shifts usually suffer from a lack of sleep, and that lack of sleep makes them just as dangerous on the roads as drunk drivers, according to a new study.’
      • ‘Duchamp's brother Raymond was a medical intern in the 1890s at a hospital where Albert Londe pioneered X-ray photography in France.’
      • ‘During her 11-year tenure, she conducted a very successful training program for dietetic interns.’
      • ‘Together the studies included about 900 physicians, interns, residents, and medical students and more than 3700 patients.’
      • ‘What do medical students, interns, and residents ever read nowadays?’
      • ‘Hospitals in this city are operating without doctors, with overextended nursing staffs and interns keeping most hospitals open.’
      • ‘One of my patients, who I met in the hospital as an intern, asked me out a few months after I was no longer caring for her.’
      • ‘However, as an intern on rotation to obstetrics and gynaecology, I feel that I must have attended a billion deliveries this month.’
      • ‘Postdoctoral supervision for registration or certification can also incorporate opportunities to supervise interns or other practitioners under supervision.’
      • ‘In addition a number of practicing pharmacists and physicians accepted the challenge of supervising the interns at their working places.’
      • ‘The 422nd also is working on getting lecture halls and classrooms repaired to allow the Center to provide continuing training to its interns and resident doctors.’
      • ‘The strikes are the latest in a series of protests over the last few months by staff in the public health service including doctors, midwives and hospital interns.’
      • ‘The government is deploying recently qualified medical interns to hospitals in an attempt to break the strike action, which has affected more than 900 district and rural hospitals.’
      • ‘The hospital's 65 interns were also on strike out of solidarity with the residents.’
      • ‘Furthermore, women receiving publicly funded care go to overcrowded hospitals staffed by interns and residents who are overworked and insufficiently trained.’
      • ‘Remember the specialist has studied for at least 11 years, during which time he or she worked as an intern and medical registrar.’
      • ‘He said the kind of training that interns received varied from hospital to hospital.’


  • 1with object Confine (someone) as a prisoner, especially for political or military reasons.

    ‘the family were interned for the duration of the war as enemy aliens’
    • ‘When war broke out, he was interned and removed to Canada.’
    • ‘With the rise of Mussolini and the outbreak of war, the ladies are interned as prisoners, and the boy risks his life to help them.’
    • ‘When the First World War broke out he was in Budapest where he was interned as a Russian.’
    • ‘Some 139,571 people were interned, but 33,521 died from hunger and disease, Mr Bright said, recalling the exact numbers.’
    • ‘He was wounded four times and at the end of the war he was interned in a prisoner of war camp in France.’
    • ‘In practice, people are interned not for anything they have done but for what some intelligence expert (often relying on foreign governments' intelligence) thinks they might do.’
    • ‘During World War II, he and his family were interned at Manzanar, California, where he was allowed to take photographs documenting life in the camp.’
    • ‘He was interned by the French authorities and kept a prisoner for six and a half years.’
    • ‘He travelled via England, where he was interned as an enemy alien and shipped to Australia, but in 1942 he found his way back, and was given a job treating traumatised soldiers.’
    • ‘Yes, interning those people was wrong, but it's different today.’
    • ‘He was interned at Saughton Prison and his father and grandfather were transported to Canada on the Arandora Star.’
    • ‘After his return to his mother's home, his behaviour worsened and, in 1930, his family decided to intern him at an asylum in Bron, where he was placed in the ‘agitated quarter’.’
    • ‘However, he was interned on the Isle of Man in 1940 as an enemy alien, something which he greatly resented since nobody could have been more opposed to the Nazis than he was.’
    • ‘In the United Kingdom when war broke out, he was interned as an enemy alien, and transported to Australia on the Dunera.’
    • ‘A prisoner of war, he was interned by the Americans in Berlin before being released.’
    • ‘Over 1,000 British Commonwealth and Allied troops were interned in the camp at one time or another and all were forced to work in the local copper mines.’
    • ‘It is now estimated that 25,000-30,000 people were interned or jailed at some point during the conflict.’
    • ‘In 1945, when he returned to Holland, he was considered an ‘enemy national’ despite the fact that his countrymen had interned him in Auschwitz.’
    • ‘A number of government departments have been put on alert for the appearance of Home Office amendments which could hand police the right to intern people without trial after an attack or other disaster.’
    • ‘It also provided legal assistance in Supreme Court cases challenging the president's order directing the military to relocate and intern Japanese Americans on the West Coast.’
    imprison, incarcerate, impound, jail, put in jail, put behind bars, detain, take into custody, hold in custody, hold captive, hold, lock up, keep under lock and key, confine
    View synonyms
  • 2North American no object Serve as an intern.

    • ‘The lab I'm interning for now only has me as the paper girl… I'm not behind any of the action.’
    • ‘In the pilot, she is interning at a DA's office, on her way to law school, but the dreams of missing children and dead people impel her to use her ‘gift’, so she faxes police offices offering her help.’
    • ‘I gave up a $60k job to intern without pay for 6 months.’
    • ‘Before I graduated college I had worked on several campaigns and spent a summer interning in the NC State Legislature.’
    • ‘Champagne interned at West Jacksonville five years ago and decided to stay.’
    • ‘I'm interning over at the Van Doren Theater in the administrative offices.’
    • ‘I was lucky enough at 19 to spend a long summer of very late nights interning at KMOX.’
    • ‘During the summer of 1965, when I was 21, I roomed with two actors in Woodstock, New York, where they were interning at the Woodstock Summer’
    • ‘Here is the thing, I agree with you on everything you say, and I wish you could run for something, because I would intern for you, not that it wouldn't be sketchy interning.’
    • ‘I requested permission from my California Army National Guard commander to drill in Washington DC during the summer of 2002, where I was interning after my first year of law school.’
    • ‘She suggested that in order to get these stories on the air, youth should have more opportunities to intern in the mainstream media or to make their own media.’
    • ‘Stone begins law school at the University of San Francisco in the fall; over the summer she sublets a Berkeley apartment while she interns for Bay Area Legal Aid.’
    • ‘While interning, she had an opportunity to observe an area of engineering that was more interesting to her, and she will be focusing on that area electrical engineering in graduate school.’
    • ‘Also, look in to starting a model UN club at school, or volunteer or intern at a local NGO that works with UN or UN issues.’
    • ‘B has interned at the libertarian Center for Individual Rights, and has written a law review note urging Congress to narrow the scope of civil rights laws.’
    • ‘I'm happy for Morella because she is a gracious lady who provided excellent service for her constituents and was very nice to my daughter when she interned for her.’
    • ‘But while interning in Boston, he met another woman, spent a dinner and a night with her, and fell in love.’
    • ‘Studying and interning at formal clinical locations, she became more attracted to alternative approaches because conventional methods leave very little room for spirituality.’
    • ‘I spent the time interning with the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights.’
    • ‘While at the University of Georgia I interned in the office of Lt. Governor Zell Miller, and learned the legislative process in the state Senate.’


See interment


Early 16th century (as an adjective in the sense ‘internal’): from French interne (adjective), interner (verb), from Latin internus ‘inward, internal’. Current senses date from the 19th century.