Etymology
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paraphrase (v.)

"restate, interpret, express the meaning of in other words," c. 1600, from paraphrase (n.) or from French paraphraser. Related: Paraphrased; paraphrasing.

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construe (v.)

late 14c., "to arrange the words of (a translation) in their natural order," hence "to interpret, explain, understand the meaning of," from Late Latin construere "to relate grammatically," in classical Latin "to build up, pile together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + struere "to pile up" (from PIE root *stere- "to spread").

Specific sense in law, "to explain or interpret for legal purposes," is from 1580s. Compare construction and construct (v.), which is a later doublet. Related: Construed; construing; construal.

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exegesis (n.)
1610s, "explanatory note," from Greek exegesis "explanation, interpretation," from exegeisthai "explain, interpret," from ex "out" (see ex-) + hegeisthai "to lead, guide," from PIE root *sag- "to track down, seek out" (see seek (v.)). Meaning "exposition (of Scripture)" is from 1823. Related: Exegetic; exegetical; exegetically.
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dragoman (n.)

"an interpreter, a guide for travelers," c. 1300, drugeman, from Old French drugemen and directly from Medieval Latin dragumanus, from late Greek dragoumanos, from Arabic targuman "interpreter," from targama "interpret." Treated in English as a compound from man (n.), with plural -men.

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riddle (v.2)

1570s, "to pose as a riddle, speak in riddles," from riddle (n.1). Earlier it meant "to puzzle" (over something), early 15c. Transitive sense of "to interpret or solve a riddle" is from 1580s (as in riddle me this). Related: Riddled; riddler; riddling.

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moralize (v.)

c. 1400, moralizen, "expound or interpret spiritual or moral significance, draw a moral from," from Old French moraliser and directly from Late Latin moralizare, from moralis "of manners or morals; moral" (see moral (adj.)). Intransitive sense of "make moral reflections" is from 1640s. Related: Moralized; moralizing; moralization.

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explicable (adj.)

"capable of being made clear or explained," literally "capable of being unfolded," 1550s, from or modeled on Latin explicabilis "capable of being unraveled, that may be explained," from explicare "unfold; explain," from ex "out" (see ex-) + plicare "to fold" (from PIE root *plek- "to plait"). Middle English had a verb expliken "explain, interpret" (mid-15c.). Related: Explicably.

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decipher (v.)

1520s, "find out, discover" (a sense now obsolete); 1540s, "interpret (a coded writing, etc.) by the use of a key," from de- + cipher (v.). Perhaps in part a loan-translation from French déchiffrer. From c. 1600 in the transferred sense of "discover or explain the meaning of what is difficult to understand." Sense of "succeed in reading what is written in obscure or partially obliterated characters" is by 1710. Related: Deciphered; deciphering.

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read (v.)

Middle English reden, ireden, "to counsel, advise," also "to read," from Old English rædan, gerædan (West Saxon), redan, geredan (Anglian) "to advise, counsel, persuade; discuss, deliberate; rule, guide; arrange, equip; forebode; to read (observe and apprehend the meaning of something written), utter aloud (words, letters, etc.); to explain; to learn through reading; to put in order."

This is reconstructed to be from Proto-Germanic *redan, source also of Old Norse raða, Old Frisian reda, Dutch raden, Old High German ratan, German raten "to advise, counsel, interpret, guess," from PIE root *re- "to reason, count."

Cognate words in most modern Germanic languages still mean "counsel, advise" (compare rede). Old English also had a related noun ræd, red "advice," and read is connected to riddle (n.1) via the notion of "interpret." Century Dictionary notes that the past participle should be written red, as it formerly was, and as in lead/led. Middle English past participle variants include eradde, irad, ired, iræd, irudde.  

The sense-transference to "interpret and understand the meaning of written symbols" is said to be unique to English and (perhaps under Old English influence) Old Norse raða. Most languages use a word rooted in the idea of "gather up" as their word for "read" (such as French lire, from Latin legere).

Sense of "make out the character of (a person)" is attested from 1610s. Musical sense of "perform (at first sight) from the notes" is by 1792. To read up "systematically study" is from 1842; read out (v.) "expel by proclamation" (Society of Friends) is from 1788. Read-only in computer jargon is recorded from 1961.

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semiotic (adj.)

1620s, "of symptoms, relating to signs of diseases," from Latinized form of Greek sēmeiōtikos "significant, portending, worth marking," also "observant of signs," adjective form of sēmeiosis "indication," from sēmeioun "to signal, to interpret a sign," from sēmeion "a sign, mark, token," from sēma "sign" (see semantic). Its use in linguistics and psychology, "of or pertaining to the use of signs," is by 1923. Related: Semiotical (1580s).

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