Definition of interlude in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɪntəl(j)uːd/


1An intervening period of time; an interval: enjoying a lunchtime interlude
More example sentences
  • He wants to show that Labour can be a ‘natural’ party of government and not just a brief, fractious interlude between long periods of Conservatism.
  • While I enjoyed the news-less interlude, too many strikes will weary public patience and risk handing viewers and listeners to the opposition.
  • In between those two periods we even had a brilliant interlude when property values, as well as rental demand, both shot up in tandem.
informal breather, let-up, time out, downtime
Australian/New Zealand informal smoko
archaic surcease
1.1A pause between the acts of a play.
Example sentences
  • In the interludes between the 12 scenes, the Andorrans take the witness stand to disclaim any responsibility for Andri's death, rather in the manner of Adolf Eichmann during his trial.
  • At one point in Act I they all stand on the tilted stage, in a straight line, during one of the interludes.
  • Dancers have only one and a half minutes in the interlude to change clothes.
2A thing occurring or done during an interval.
Example sentences
  • Performances by the couple and their troupe, which gave the much-needed interlude to the event, were a hit.
  • But for the dance events coming as interludes, models took the centrestage, inadvertently defining the commercialisation of education.
  • You feel like you've experienced a gig, played out with comedy interludes and a dash of social comment.
2.1Something performed during a theatre interval: an orchestral interlude
More example sentences
  • She made her debut dancing with Anton Dolin's company in London in 1929, performing balletic interludes in revues at the Coliseum.
  • That interludes were sometimes performed by villagers we know from ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • In between the shows, the comic interludes were performed to keep the audience in good spirits with twinkle-footed clowns.
2.2A piece of music played between other pieces or between the verses of a hymn: short instrumental interludes between songs
More example sentences
  • Boasting 15 tracks, four of which act as short instrumental interludes between songs, the album booklet includes landscapes and urban scenes entwined with vocalist Bruce Conlon's sappy poetry.
  • The odd-numbered tracks are short interludes using music boxes and prepared toy pianos to situate his longer improvised works for prepared piano.
  • It is mainly dialogue driven with musical interludes, and the music is virtually the only time the rear channels are utilized.
2.3A temporary amusement or diversion that contrasts with what goes before or after: the romantic interlude palled rapidly once he was back in town
More example sentences
  • I haven't forgotten that this is usually a feather-light interlude of domestic diversions and pop-cult blather - but these are interesting times, and it's my web page.
  • The full-bore spookiness of these interludes provides a startling contrast to the main action, which traverses familiar road-movie territory.
  • It seems that no-one in Rhea County is descended from monkeys, though it's less clear as to whether romantic interludes with mules and cows might not have contributed to the current population.


Middle English (originally denoting a light dramatic entertainment): from medieval Latin interludium, from inter- 'between' + ludus 'play'.

  • Performances of medieval miracle plays could last all day, so to provide variety and relieve tension, performers would introduce short and often humorous dramatic pieces between the acts, which were the original interludes. The word derives from Latin inter ‘between, among’ and ludus ‘a play’. By the 17th century people were using interlude for the interval of time between the acts of a play, and by the 18th for any intervening time, space, or event.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: inter|lude

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