adjective un·in·ter·est·ed \ ˌən-ˈin-t(ə-)rə-stəd ; -ˈin-tə-ˌre- , -ˈin-ˌtre- ; -ˈin-tər- \
|Updated on: 7 Jul 2018

Definition of uninterested

: not interested : not having the mind or feelings engaged

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 Londonletter1914
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 uninterested in a Sentence

  1. the teacher decided to make a career change after having to teach yet another class of uninterested teens

Recent Examples of uninterested from the Web

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

First Known Use of uninterested


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UNINTERESTED Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of uninterested for English Language Learners

  • : not wanting to learn more about something or become involved in something : not interested

UNINTERESTED Defined for Kids


adjective un·in·ter·est·ed \ ˌən-ˈin-trə-stəd , -ˈin-tə-rə- \

Definition of uninterested for Students

: not interested
  • He was uninterested in watching the parade.

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