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Question: can an interface describe a relationship between multiple entities, or just two? Most dictionaries specifically say two, but Merriam-Webster says "the place at which independent and often unrelated systems meet and act on or communicate with each other." ( That leaves things rather ambigious. I'm basing this question on a real conversation in which an individual described the "interface" between three things. Any thoughts?

A surface forming a common boundary between adjacent regions, bodies, substances, or phases.

A point at which independent systems or diverse groups interact: “the interface between crime and politics where much of our reality is to be found” (Jack Kroll).

Computer Science. The point of interaction or communication between a computer and any other entity, such as a printer or human operator. The layout of an application's graphic or textual controls in conjunction with the way the application responds to user activity: an interface whose icons were hard to remember.

If the individual entities are made in such a way that many connections can be performed, then more than two entities can be connected or interfaced. This relates to whole entities. If the connection of parts of entities is meant, then there can be as many connections as there are connectors on the parts. This could result in an infinite number of connections at the interface. A common interface of more than two entities is an electrical wall socket that is equipped with an adapter that allows more than two connections.Lestrade 15:14, 26 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade


Like impact, interface, as a verb, came into general use in the late 1970s. It was one of the many words that were imitated from the speech and writing of computer technicians. At the time, it was a new and impressive way to say connect.Lestrade 15:01, 26 September 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Definition of "to interface"Edit

As I understand it, it is not enough to say that "to interface" means "to join" as interfacing involves a degree of communication as well. To follow the example given, the PR company does not simply meet with the press, it also communicates the wishes of the client company to the press. Perhaps it should thus read, "To connect or join for the purpose of communication" or similar. 11:59, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Last modified on 12 December 2006, at 11:59