What are the differences between these 3 words: interval, intermission and break? I've searched on Oxford Dictionary:


  1. a period of time between two events

  2. (also intermission North American English, British English) a short period of time


  1. a short period of time between the parts of a play, film/movie, etc.

  2. a period of time during which something stops before continuing again


a short period of time when you stop what you are doing and rest, eat, etc.

After reading these definitions, I'm still very confused about when to use interval, intermission and break.

I have 5 sentences and I have to fill interval, intermission or break correctly:

  1. _____ for coffee

  2. _____ in conversation

  3. _____ for lunch

  4. _____ between two acts of play

  • All three words work with #4, with 'break' being a less formal word. On the other hand, only 'break' works with the other three, as far as normal usage goes. – Arm the good guys in America Oct 15 '17 at 3:49

You have provided only four of your five examples, and as they are not sentences I understand why you might be having difficulty differentiating between the meanings. Perhaps if I use the examples you've provided in sentences, it might help.

I would use break for the first three of your examples.

Let's break for coffee.

(Let's pause to have a cup of coffee.)

There was a break in the conversation.

(There was a pause or lull in the conversation.)

It is time to break for lunch.

(It's time to stop and have lunch.)

The time between two acts of a play is called an interval or an intermission.

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