late 14c., "expound the meaning of, render clear or explicit," from Old French interpreter "explain; translate" (13c.) and directly from Latin interpretari "explain, expound, understand," from interpres "agent, translator," from inter "between" (see inter-) + second element probably from PIE *per- (5) "to traffic in, sell." Related: Interpreted; interpreting.
From late 14c. as "act or process of explaining or interpreting; an explanation; construction placed upon an action." Meaning "dramatic or musical representation" is from 1880.
"restate, interpret, express the meaning of in other words," c. 1600, from paraphrase (n.) or from French paraphraser. Related: Paraphrased; paraphrasing.