disinterested

play
adjective dis·in·ter·est·ed \(ˌ)dis-ˈin-trə-stəd; -ˈin-tə-ˌre-, -tə-rə-, -tər-; -ˈin-ˌtre-\

Definition of disinterested

  1. 1a :  not having the mind or feelings engaged (see engaged 1) :  not interested telling them in a disinterested voice — Tom Wicker disinterested in women — J. A. Brusselb :  no longer interested husband and wife become disinterested in each other — T. I. Rubin

  2. 2 :  free from selfish motive or interest (see 1interest 5) :  unbiased a disinterested decision disinterested intellectual curiosity is the lifeblood of real civilization — G. M. Trevelyan

disinterestedly

adverb

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disinterested vs. uninterested

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

  1. the disinterested pursuit of truth

  2. the city's philistines, naturally disinterested in art, voted to cut the museum's budget

Recent Examples of disinterested from the Web

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.

What is the Difference Between disinterested and uninterested?

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 sense of disinterested describing someone not having the mind or feelings engaged also disappeared, only to have uninterested take its place. The original sense of uninterested is still out of use, but the original ("not interested") sense of disinterested revived in the early 20th century. The revival has come under frequent attack as an illiteracy and a blurring or loss of a useful distinction. However, actual usage shows that writers and speakers use these words with intention. For instance, a writer may choose disinterested in preference to uninterested for emphasis, as in "a supremely disinterested child." Further, disinterested has developed a sense meaning "no longer interested," which is clearly distinguishable from uninterested.

First Known Use of disinterested

circa 1612

Synonym Discussion of 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 Defined for English Language Learners

disinterested

play
adjective

Definition of disinterested for English Language Learners

  • : not influenced by personal feelings, opinions, or concerns

  • : having no desire to know about a particular thing : not interested


DISINTERESTED Defined for Kids

disinterested

play
adjective dis·in·ter·est·ed \dis-ˈin-trə-stəd, -ˈin-tə-rə-\

Definition of disinterested for Students

  1. 1 :  not interested disinterested in sports

  2. 2 :  not influenced by personal feelings or concerns a disinterested judge


Law Dictionary

disinterested

play
adjective dis·in·ter·est·ed \dis-ˈin-tə-rəs-təd, -ˈin-trəs-, -ˈin-tə-ˌres-\

Legal Definition of disinterested

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



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