Interim Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

This guide will help you learn more about the meaning of interim with definitions, synonyms, and antonyms, and more about how to use it.

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Words can be so familiar to us that we use them comfortably, but we can still not know everything that a word means or all the ways we could be using it. 

When you take the time to learn the definitions of a word, you can be sure that you’re understanding it and using it correctly. You can even clear up misunderstandings if someone else misunderstands your usage. Interim is a common word you may want to learn a little more about.

What Is the Meaning of the Word Interim?

The word interim is pronounced in-ter-im. It can be a noun, an adjective, and an adverb. It’s important to explore the word’s definition in each form to fully understand its meaning. 

Interim as a Noun

As a noun, the word interim has a few definitions. Here are the various definitions of interim as a noun:

  • Interim (n) – An intervening time; interval.
  • Interim (n) – A provisional arrangement that is meant to be temporary.
  • Interim (n) (cap.) – With regards to Church History, referring to any of the three provisional arrangements to the settlement of religious differences between the Roman Catholics and the German Protestants during the Reformation.

Interim as an Adjective

As an adjective, interim only has one definition. The word is used descriptively to describe another noun that is similar to its definition as a noun. 

Here is the definition of the word interim as an adjective:

  • Interim (adj). – During, belonging to, related to, or connecting to an intervening period of time; temporary.

This is one of the most common uses of this word.

Interim as an Adverb

As an adverb, interim (adv) means meanwhile.

What Is the Origin of the Word Interim?

A word’s history is also known as its etymology. With it, we can see how a word has become what we know today.

When you realize how much words can evolve over time, it’s interesting to think about how people have used the word you’re using and imagine how people in the future might use it. Has the word stayed the same? Are you saying the same word that people centuries ago were saying?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, the word interim has Indo-European roots, and interim comes from the Latin interim which also meant “in the meantime.”

How Is the Word Interim Used Today?

Interim is most commonly used to describe temporary positions that are being filled until a permanent hire can assume the responsibility. An interim position can become a necessary answer to a variety of situations. 

The Good

When you have an important job like the president in places like the United States, Ireland, or France or the prime minister in places like the United Kingdom or Canada, you’re expected to be on the job all day every day for the duration of your term

Even if you are governor or mayor, you still have responsibilities that must be fulfilled, and when it comes to medical procedures, what would be simple for most requires more thought and preparation.

Someone needs to act as interim mayor, interim governor, interim president, or interim prime minister if the acting president or person will be unable to fulfill their duties while under anesthesia or is otherwise unable to perform their role. 

For example, in the United States, the vice president is temporarily sworn in to serve as an interim president if the sitting president will be incapacitated. 

This is a short-term solution that provides continuity to the office.

The Bad

Occasionally, you will hear the term interim used in sports. If a coach takes a new position with another team, is let go early in the season, or becomes incapable of fulfilling his/her duties, an interim coach will serve as a stopgap measure until a permanent coach can be found. Sometimes the interim coach will become the permanent coach. 

The Historical

The Augsburg Interim is also called the Peace of Augsburg was the provisional ruling that consisted of compromises between the Roman Catholic Church and the German Emperor  Charles V during the Reformation period of the 1500s. 

This Interim helped in the adjustment of religious differences between the Church and helped in connecting opinions of Protestants to be more aligned.

What Are Synonyms for the Word Interim?

Synonyms are words that have the same meaning. You can use synonyms to tell someone essentially the same thing, and synonyms are also a great way to further understand a word’s meaning.

 Occasionally, you’ll find that the best synonyms have the same root parts that give the topic word its meaning. Here are some synonyms for the word interim:

  • Meantime
  • Meanwhile
  • Interval
  • Interlude
  • Interregnum
  • Provisional
  • Temporary
  • Pro tem
  • Stopgap
  • Short-term
  • Transitional
  • Makeshift
  • Intervening
  • Fill-in 

What Are Antonyms for the Word Interim?

Antonyms can also help you learn more about the definition of a word by teaching you what it does not mean because they have the opposite meaning of a word. 

Here are some antonyms of the word interim:

  • Continual
  • Permanent
  • Finished
  • Continuity
  • Permanence
  • Continuation

What Are Examples of How To Use the Word Interim?

Example sentences are a great way to see a word in action. When you have a variety of definitions, it’s important to see the word used in various ways to help you know just how to use it correctly. 

Here are some example sentences for how to use the word interim:

  • When the head coach was fired, the assistant coach became the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
  • Upon his resignation, an interim CEO was needed at headquarters to keep the shareholders happy.
  • The interim dividend is not the same as the final dividend.
  • Please have the general manager cover the store during this interim period.
  • Interim reports are given to show the results of the learners’ benchmark assessments, summative assessments, and formative assessments throughout the school year.
  • An interim government, or provisional government, is needed during this time of unrest.
  • An interim constitution has been adopted until the final draft can be deliberated on by the members.
  • In the interim, meetings will be held in Barcelona instead of Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Last Word

Now that you know what the word interim means, you’ll understand it when you hear it and be more confident when the word fits a situation in your life. You’re using the same word that people used in the 1560s, and it sounds and means the same almost seven centuries later. 

For a word that means “in the meantime,” it sure has taken up a permanent space in the English language.


  1. Interim Definition & Meaning | 
  2. Interim | American Heritage Dictionary 
  3. INTERIM | Cambridge English Dictionary