1. An intervening episode, feature, or period of time: "Kerensky has a place in history, of a brief interlude between despotisms" (William Safire).
a. A short farcical entertainment performed between the acts of a medieval mystery or morality play.
b. A 16th-century genre of comedy derived from this.
c. An entertainment between the acts of a play.
3. Music A short piece inserted between the parts of a longer composition.
[Middle English enterlude, a dramatic entertainment, from Old French entrelude, from Medieval Latin interlūdium : Latin inter-, inter- + Latin lūdus, play; see leid- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.