in·ter·est | \ ˈin-t(ə-)rəst ; ˈin-tə-ˌrest , -ˌtrest ; ˈin-tərst \

Definition of interest 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a feeling that accompanies or causes special attention to an object or class of objects : concern

b : something that arouses such attention

c : a quality in a thing arousing interest

3a : a charge for borrowed money generally a percentage of the amount borrowed

b : the profit in goods or money that is made on invested capital

c : an excess above what is due or expected returned the insults with interest

4a(1) : right, title, or legal share in something

(2) : participation in advantage and responsibility

b : business, company


interested; interesting; interests

Definition of interest (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to engage the attention or arouse the interest of

2 : to induce or persuade to participate or engage

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Synonyms & Antonyms for interest

Synonyms: Noun

good, weal, welfare, well-being

Synonyms: Verb

absorb, bemuse, busy, catch up, engage, engross, enthrall (or enthral), enwrap, fascinate, grip, immerse, intrigue, involve, occupy

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of interest in a Sentence


She told us about her lifelong interest in music. The kids listened to the speaker for a little while, but then lost interest. The speaker wasn't able to hold their interest. She took an active interest in the political debate. He expressed an interest in learning more about photography. The stories about his personal life add interest to the book. I thought this article might be of interest to you. We visited many places of interest on our vacation. The price of the ticket was a matter of interest to everyone. Music is one of her many interests.


Military history doesn't really interest me. It might interest you to know that the woman in this photograph is your great-grandmother. It interested me to learn that she had once lived in California. The salesman tried to interest me in a more expensive computer.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Saint Al’s also sought $5 million in interest from the allegedly unpaid bills. Audrey Dutton, idahostatesman, "St. Luke's sues prison contractor over $12 million in medical bills," 13 July 2018 The fact that California students pay higher tuition plays a role in ASU’s interest in recruiting them, Lopez said. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Arizona universities got a boost in admissions from California in the past decade," 12 July 2018 Katz said the company is proceeding based on where officials have shown interest, with North Texas officials promoting both the Dallas-Fort Worth and Fort Worth-to-Laredo lines. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Hyperloop's first step bypasses Houston," 11 July 2018 Selling soccer apparel and equipment, the Buffalo Grove retailer also has seen an uptick in interest from new consumers who are looking to buy soccer-themed materials throughout the World Cup tournament, said co-owner Lisa Mathis. Elizabeth Owens-schiele,, "As excitement builds for World Cup, suburban libraries see opportunities for international learning," 10 July 2018 In the early 2000s, there was a decrease in interest in water gardening per normal horticulture cycles, when species of plants fall in and out of favor among gardeners, said Walter Wicklein III. Leah Brennan,, "Family-owned and operated business in Parkville blooms with native plants," 9 July 2018 On Tuesday, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles filed a motion asking a federal judge to compel the payment of $440,291 in unpaid taxes and more than $11,700 in interest. Mike James, USA TODAY, "Stormy Daniels' lawyer says he might run for president," 4 July 2018 When bitcoin’s price spiked last year, many big financial institutions took an interest in the virtual currency as a new kind of investment and have looked to move it away from its unsavory associations., "How Russian spies hid behind bitcoin in hacking campaign," 14 July 2018 More than 1,500 journalists descended on the small town, racing to feed an insatiable interest in the scrappy teammates, some of whom were stateless migrants from a lawless region of neighboring Myanmar. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "‘Time is running out’: Inside the treacherous rescue of boys trapped in a Thai cave," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Discussing the challenges of facing Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury also didn't interest him. Larry Lage, Fox News, "Jets D Dustin Byfuglien poses big problem for Golden Knights," 13 May 2018 Last Thursday, Edwards said Barras was interested in ending the regular session around May 18. Julia O'donoghue,, "Louisiana House Speaker won't commit to ending regular session early," 24 Apr. 2018 The National School Walkout’s website has a planning guide for schools interested in participating for the event. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "Students Across the Country Will Participate in a National School Walkout on April 20. Here's What to Know," 19 Apr. 2018 Comparison is one long, agonizing death and does not interest me at all. Lori Berger, Redbook, "How to Be Happy, By Kristen Bell," 13 Aug. 2013 Eric Bourquin now serves as a consultant for The Long Road Home, but the project didn't immediately interest him. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Today’s veterans are gradually returning to a new civilian-life op—Hollywood," 17 June 2018 The net is usually used to conceal stealthy activities that might interest other armies or security teams. Yonat Friling, Fox News, "Exclusive: China deploys more surface-to-air missiles to disputed island, raising tension with US," 23 May 2018 The team was open to adding starting pitching and did so -- don't forget the signing of Jhoulys Chacin -- but it wasn't interested in paying top dollar for aging free agents who were seeking lengthy contracts. Robert Dylan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Brewers chat with Todd Rosiak," 27 Mar. 2018 Murray told board members he wasn't interested, sources said. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "MSU board picks former governors Engler, Blanchard to run embattled university," 30 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interest.' 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 interest


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a(1)


1608, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for interest


Middle English, probably alteration of earlier interesse, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin, from Latin, to be between, make a difference, concern, from inter- + esse to be — more at is


probably alteration of earlier interesse, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin, from Latin, to be between, make a difference, concern, from inter- between, among + esse to be

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Learn More about interest

Statistics for interest

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interest

The first known use of interest was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for interest



Financial Definition of interest

What It Is

Interest is the cost of borrowing money for a certain period of time.

How It Works

Let's assume you need $500,000 to buy a house. The "price" of borrowing that money is interest, and it is expressed as a percentage of the amount of money you obtain. The borrower pays the interest to the lender. The rate of interest reflects the time value of money, the borrower's credit risk, inflation rates and a variety of other market conditions.

Why It Matters

Interest rates are some of the most powerful and influential components of an economy. As a result,The definition of interest on InvestingAnswers most countries take a keen interest, if not an active role, in monitoring interest rates. They also affect individual, day-to-day consumer decisions, such as determining whether it's a good time to buy a house, borrow money for a college degree, or put money in a specific type of bank account.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of interest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a feeling of wanting to learn more about something or to be involved in something

: a quality that attracts your attention and makes you want to learn more about something or to be involved in something

: something (such as a hobby) that a person enjoys learning about or doing



English Language Learners Definition of interest (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to want to learn more about something or to become involved in something

: to persuade (someone) to have, take, or participate in (something)


in·ter·est | \ ˈin-trəst , ˈin-tə-rəst \

Kids Definition of interest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a feeling of concern or curiosity about or desire to be involved with something an interest in music We lost interest in the game.

2 : a quality that makes something more appealing or interesting Personal stories add interest to the book.

3 : something that a person enjoys learning about or doing Sports is one of his many interests.

4 : something that provides help or benefit to a person or group It's in your interest to study.

5 : the money paid by a borrower for the use of borrowed money

6 : the profit made on money that is invested

7 : a right, title, or legal share in something They bought out his interest in the company.

8 interests plural : a group financially interested in an industry or business mining interests


interested; interesting

Kids Definition of interest (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to persuade to become involved in Can I interest you in joining us?

2 : to arouse and hold the concern, curiosity, or attention of This movie doesn't interest me.

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in·ter·est | \ ˈin-trəst; ˈin-tə-rəst, -ˌrest \

Legal Definition of interest 

1 : a right, title, claim, or share in property

Article Nine security interest

: security interest in this entry

beneficial interest

: the right to the use and benefit of property a beneficial interest in the trust

contingent interest

: a future interest whose vesting is dependent upon the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a future event — compare vested interest in this entry

controlling interest

: sufficient stock ownership in a corporation to exert control over policy

equitable interest

: an interest (as a beneficial interest) that is held by virtue of equitable title or that may be claimed on the ground of equitable relief claimed an equitable interest in the debtor's assets

executory interest

: a future interest other than a remainder or reversion that may take effect upon the divesting of a prior interest or one created simultaneously

Note: Unlike a remainder, an executory interest does not require the expiration of a prior interest. It was designed to guard against the destructibility of contingent remainders set forth in the rule in Shelley's case.

expectation interest

: the interest of a party to a breached contract in receiving the benefit of the bargain by being put in a position as good as that which would have resulted had the contract been performed

called also expectancy interest

— compare reliance interest in this entry

future interest

: an interest in property limited or created so that its owner will come into the use, possession, or enjoyment of it at some future time — see also contingent interest and executory interest in this entry — compare remainder, reversion

insurable interest

: an interest or stake in property or in a person that arises from the potential for especially financial loss upon the destruction of the property or the death of the person and that is a requirement for enforcing an insurance contract

Note: The purpose of requiring an insurable interest is to prevent the use of insurance as a form of gambling or as a method of profiting from destruction.

legal interest

: an interest that is recognized in law (as by legal title) — compare equitable interest in this entry, legal title at title

life interest

: an interest lasting for the duration of a person's life that forecloses the ability to affect the property beyond that term — compare life estate at estate sense 1

possessory interest

: an interest (as a right) involving or arising out of the possession of property

Note: A possessory interest is based on control rather than use. Thus a lessee who occupies and controls the use of property has a possessory interest, while a party who has an easement does not.

purchase money security interest

1 : the security interest held by the seller of collateral to secure payment of all or part of the price

2 : the security interest of a person that gives value to a debtor so that the debtor may acquire rights in or the use of collateral

reliance interest

: the interest of a party to a breached contract in being compensated for detriments suffered (as expenses incurred) in reliance on the agreement — compare expectation interest in this entry

reversionary interest

: an interest in property (as a possibility of reverter or a power of termination) remaining in the transferor of the property or in his or her successor in interest

security interest

1 : an interest in property that exists by contract as security for payment or performance of an obligation the security interest of a mortgagee in the mortgaged property also : lien

Note: While a lien may be created by statutory or judicial means without any agreement providing for security (as in the case of a tax lien or judgment lien), a security interest and lien may inhere in the same claim, as when a mortgage comprises both a lien on and security interest in the mortgaged property.

2 : an interest in personal property or fixtures created by a security agreement that secures payment or performance of an obligation the creditor had a security interest in the inventory and accounts receivable of the business

called also Article Nine security interest

— see also attach sense 3, collateral sense 2, perfect entry 2 sense b, purchase money security interest in this entry

Note: Security interests in personal property are governed by Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. The security interest set out in Article 9 largely replaces the traditional devices for security, such as the pledge and chattel mortgage. A security interest in property that has attached enables a creditor to obtain satisfaction of a debt out of the property without the need to obtain a judgment in court and levy on the property. Further, it provides the creditor with priority over competing claims against the property.

terminable interest

: an interest (as in a life estate) that will terminate upon the occurrence of an event or the passing of time

vested interest

: a present and certain right to the present or future enjoyment of property — compare contingent interest in this entry

working interest

: the interest of a party that holds the right to oil, gas, or minerals on a property and that bears production costs — see also overriding royalty

2 : a specific concern or level of involvement (as financial involvement) especially that warrants recognition or causes bias had a right to intervene because of an interest in the litigation recused himself due to an interest in the matter — see also conflict of interest

3 : something that causes or warrants particular attention: as

a : a principle, purpose, or object of concern

compelling state interest

: a governmental interest (as in educating children or protecting the public) which is so important that it outweighs individual rights

public interest

1a : the general welfare and rights of the public that are to be recognized, protected, and advanced the attorney general has standing as a representative of the public interest

b : a specific public benefit or stake in something the public interest in controlling crime

2 : the concern or attention of the public a matter of widespread public interest

b : a right especially that arises from a constitution (as the U.S. Constitution) especially : such a right considered as an issue or claim created in or involving a particular situation or thing no person will be deprived of his interests in the absence of a proceeding in which he may present his case Marshall v. Jerrico, Inc., 446 U.S. 238 (1980)

liberty interest

: an interest in freedom from governmental deprivation of liberty especially without due process the liberty interest implicated by the needless discouragement of the exercise of the right to counselState v. Albert, 899 P.2d 103 (1995) (dissent)

privacy interest

: an interest in freedom from governmental intrusion into matters in which one has a reasonable expectation of privacy we have no privacy interest protected by the federal Constitution in limiting public or government access to knowledge of our financial transactions —L. H. Tribe

property interest

: an interest in freedom from governmental deprivation of property and sources of financial gain (as employment or a government benefit) without due process broadly : something (as a job or benefit) to which one has a legitimate claim of entitlement and that cannot be taken away without due process as distinguished from the unprotected object of a need, desire, or expectation

4 : the well-being of a person often used in pl. does not serve the child's best interests

5 : a charge for the use of another's money that is usually a percentage of the money being used an account yielding 7% interest paid back the loan with interest

compound interest

: interest computed on the sum of the original principal and accrued interest

legal interest

: a lawful interest rate and especially the highest rate allowed proposals to increase the legal interest on department store credit cards to 15%American Banker also : interest computed at such a rate awarded the defendant legal interest — compare usury

qualified residence interest

: interest that is deductible from adjusted gross income under federal tax law when it is paid on debt that is secured by one's residence and that was incurred for the acquisition, construction, improvement, or refinancing of the residence or through a home equity loan

simple interest

: interest computed on the principal of a loan or account

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