in·​ter·​est·​ing | \ ˈin-t(ə-)rə-stiŋ How to pronounce interesting (audio) ; ˈin-tə-ˌre-, ˈin-ˌtre-; ˈin-tər- How to pronounce interesting (audio) \

Definition of interesting

: holding the attention : arousing interest

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Other Words from interesting

interestingness noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Fun, one-off specials keep things extra interesting. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Best Sandwich: 2021 Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards," 26 Feb. 2021 Texas got a safety in the final minute to make things interesting. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Stadium farewell: 1980 ‘Miracle Bowl’ tops list of best Holiday Bowls," 25 Feb. 2021 Plus, some contenders are returning enough starters to perhaps make things interesting. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "ACC spring football preview: Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State may pressure favorite Clemson," 23 Feb. 2021 Well, with a few tweaks to keep things interesting. Shannon Carlin,, "The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things," 12 Feb. 2021 The question would be if the plot stayed the same from there, if the Wolves would muster some sort of rally to make things interesting. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "Timberwolves make a game of it vs. Mavericks after being crushed early," 8 Feb. 2021 Or could the Giants make things interesting even in the increasingly difficult NL West after showing improvement throughout even an abbreviated 2020 season? Jon Schultz,, "Introducing The Chronicle’s new baseball coverage lineup: What to expect in 2021," 25 Jan. 2021 What makes the Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn creative collective so interesting as a band is that they are classified as having no genre, or being in their own lane. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, "Infinity Songs’ Playlist Says Cheers To New Beginnings," 15 Jan. 2021 Heinicke made things interesting in the third, most notably scrambling for an 8-yard TD by diving at the pylon in the corner of the end zone. oregonlive, "Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the Washington Football Team in a wild card playoff game: Recap, score, stats and more," 9 Jan. 2021

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

1768, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for interesting

Time Traveler

The first known use of interesting was in 1768

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Statistics for interesting

Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Interesting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for interesting



English Language Learners Definition of interesting

: attracting your attention and making you want to learn more about something or to be involved in something : not dull or boring


in·​ter·​est·​ing | \ ˈin-trə-stiŋ How to pronounce interesting (audio) , ˈin-tə-rə- \

Kids Definition of interesting

: holding the attention : not dull or boring an interesting story

Other Words from interesting

interestingly adverb

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Comments on interesting

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