dis·​in·​ter·​est·​ed | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈin-trə-stəd How to pronounce disinterested (audio) ; -ˈin-tə-ˌre-, -tə-rə-, -tər-; -ˈin-ˌtre- \

Definition of disinterested

1a : not having the mind or feelings engaged (see engaged sense 1) : not interested telling them in a disinterested voice— Tom Wicker disinterested in women— J. A. Brussel
b : no longer interested husband and wife become disinterested in each other— T. I. Rubin
2 : free from selfish motive or interest (see interest entry 1 sense 1a) : unbiased a disinterested decision disinterested intellectual curiosity is the lifeblood of real civilization— G. M. Trevelyan

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Other Words from disinterested

disinterestedly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for disinterested

indifferent, unconcerned, incurious, aloof, detached, disinterested mean not showing or feeling interest. indifferent implies neutrality of attitude from lack of inclination, preference, or prejudice. indifferent to the dictates of fashion unconcerned suggests a lack of sensitivity or regard for others' needs or troubles. unconcerned about the homeless incurious implies an inability to take a normal interest due to dullness of mind or to self-centeredness. incurious about the world aloof suggests a cool reserve arising from a sense of superiority or disdain for inferiors or from shyness. aloof from his coworkers detached implies an objective attitude achieved through absence of prejudice or selfishness. observed family gatherings with detached amusement disinterested implies a circumstantial freedom from concern for personal or especially financial advantage that enables one to judge or advise without bias. judged by a panel of disinterested observers

Disinterested vs. Uninterested: Usage Guide

Disinterested and uninterested have a tangled history. Uninterested originally meant impartial, but this sense fell into disuse during the 18th century. About the same time the original sense of disinterested also disappeared, with uninterested developing a new sense—the present meaning—to take its place. The original sense of uninterested is still out of use, but the original sense of disinterested revived in the early 20th century. The revival has since been under frequent attack as an illiteracy and a blurring or loss of a useful distinction. Actual usage shows otherwise. The "free from selfish interest" sense of disinterested is still its most frequent sense, especially in edited prose; it shows no sign of vanishing. Further, disinterested has developed an additional sense—"no longer interested"—perhaps influenced by the "deprive of" sense of the prefix dis-, that contrasts with uninterested. when I grow tired or disinterested in anything, I experience a disgust — Jack London, letter, 1914 Still, use of the "not interested" and "no longer interested" senses of disinterested will incur the disapproval of some who may not fully appreciate the history of this word or the subtleties of its present use.

Examples of disinterested in a Sentence

the disinterested pursuit of truth the city's philistines, naturally disinterested in art, voted to cut the museum's budget
Recent Examples on the Web Playing the second night of a back-to-back, the Thunder looked totally disinterested in mounting any kind of comeback. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 133, Thunder 86: From a real game to a blowout in a matter of minutes," 28 Feb. 2020 Like journalism, American film history tends to be rather too neatly divided between sober, apparently disinterested chronicles and gossipy counter-histories, some persuasive, others fantastical. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Harvey Weinstein Is Going to Prison. But That’s Just a Starting Point.," 25 Feb. 2020 Cats have a reputation for being disinterested and standoffish little furballs who only show their owners affection when its time to fill their dinner bowls. Melissa Locker, Time, "Here Are Many, Many Cats Reacting Appropriately to Humans Using Cat Filters," 12 Dec. 2019 Losses manifested inside the new stadium in the form of empty seats and late-to-arrive, seemingly disinterested crowds. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Is the 49ers’ success helping South Bay economy?," 10 Jan. 2020 But the 500 has fallen short of expectations as Americans grew disinterested in super-small cars. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "These 9 cars will be killed in 2020: Chevrolet, Ford, Fiat vehicles are saying goodbye," 19 Dec. 2019 Things don't initially go much better for Charles behind closed doors: his fellow students are either disinterested or openly hostile to him, while Millward can't entirely hide his suspicion either. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, "The True Story of Prince Charles's Welsh Lessons With His Tutor Edward Millward," 17 Nov. 2019 And looking disinterested in Game 4 on the road in conference play, that’s a very troubling sign. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville football's culture change means accountability and effort are back," 10 Aug. 2019 Francis Bacon, an English intellectual and early contributor to the movement, thought that through disinterested and open inquiry, nature’s secrets could be understood and then manipulated to the benefit of humankind. The Economist, "A society’s values and beliefs matter for its economy," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disinterested.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disinterested

circa 1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of disinterested was circa 1612

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Last Updated

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disinterested.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disinterested. Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for disinterested


How to pronounce disinterested (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of disinterested

: not influenced by personal feelings, opinions, or concerns
: having no desire to know about a particular thing : not interested


dis·​in·​ter·​est·​ed | \ dis-ˈin-trə-stəd How to pronounce disinterested (audio) , -ˈin-tə-rə- \

Kids Definition of disinterested

1 : not interested disinterested in sports
2 : not influenced by personal feelings or concerns a disinterested judge


dis·​in·​ter·​est·​ed | \ dis-ˈin-tə-rəs-təd, -ˈin-trəs-, -ˈin-tə-ˌres- How to pronounce disinterested (audio) \

Legal Definition of disinterested

: free of any interest especially of a pecuniary nature : impartial a disinterested person to witness the will

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More from Merriam-Webster on disinterested

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disinterested

Spanish Central: Translation of disinterested

Nglish: Translation of disinterested for Spanish Speakers

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