The word interpret was first used in the late fourteenth-century Wycliffite Bible, when it was spelled interprete and meant "explain the meaning of" or "translate", much like today. The word comes from the Old French verb interpreter, which in turn was borrowed in the thirteenth century from the Latin present passive infinitive interpretari, which could also mean "decide" and "regard". More literally, the word meant "agent between", because it comes from the preposition inter, meaning "between", and the root pres, which was a lesser-known word for "agent". Inter comes from Proto-Indo-European enter, meaning either "between" or "among"; pres is thought to be related to the word for price, pretium, which would mean that it comes from a Proto-Indo-European root sounding like per and meaning "sell".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.