in·​ter·​est·​ing ˈin-t(ə-)rə-stiŋ How to pronounce interesting (audio) ˈin-tə-ˌre- How to pronounce interesting (audio)
: holding the attention : arousing interest
interestingness noun

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The Pronunciation and History of Interesting

There are a number of ways to say interesting. It can have three syllables or four; it can have an accent only on the first syllable, or it can also have a secondary accent on the "res"; the first "e" can get ignored, resulting in a second syllable of "tres" rhyming with dress; or the second "e" can be ignored, resulting in a syllable that sounds like terse. All of these various pronunciations are well-established and occur in the speech of educated, native speakers of English.

The word interesting originally meant "of concern"; it was a synonym of important. It comes from the verb interest, which in its original use meant "to induce or persuade to participate or engage." If you were interested in something, you were not willing to be a bystander; you felt the need to participate or engage.

Examples of interesting in a Sentence

This is one of the most interesting books I've read all year. It will be interesting to see how she decides to spend the money. This building has an interesting history. I don't find politics very interesting. I found it interesting to learn that she had once lived in California. Most of what he said wasn't interesting to me. See More
Recent Examples on the Web And for some reason, that's very crazy and interesting to people. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 23 Sep. 2023 Travelling the world and getting to meet interesting and engaging people never gets old. Liza Lentini, Spin, 22 Sep. 2023 There are also several interesting lots from Patek Philippe, ranging from a Perpetual Calendar Chronograph first-series ref. Cait Bazemore, Robb Report, 22 Sep. 2023 Scott decided to finish his part of the segment with an interesting comment that sparked immediate pushback from Smith and Clark. Scott Thompson, Fox News, 22 Sep. 2023 To keep things interesting — and keep the process moving — our testing included countless manicures, perfume-judging group seshes at the office, and multi-hour discussions about each and every category with our full team. Annie Blay, Allure, 21 Sep. 2023 These are, again, orcas finding something interesting and fun to play with. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Sep. 2023 But what’s equally interesting is that the companies that are committed remain fully committed. Chloe Taylor, Fortune, 21 Sep. 2023 Try the Pretty Lady series of single and double Japanese anemones, which produce blooms for a month or two atop 24-inch stems. Or go beyond flowers and choose plants with interesting foliage. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'interesting.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1768, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of interesting was in 1768

Dictionary Entries Near interesting

Cite this Entry

“Interesting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​ter·​est·​ing ˈin-trəst-iŋ How to pronounce interesting (audio) ˈint-ə-ˌrest-iŋ How to pronounce interesting (audio)
: holding the attention : arousing interest

More from Merriam-Webster on interesting

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