-ˈin-tə-ˌre- How to pronounce uninterested (audio)
: not interested : not having the mind or feelings engaged
Disinterested vs. Uninterested: Usage Guide

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.

Example Sentences

the teacher decided to make a career change after having to teach yet another class of uninterested teens
Recent Examples on the Web But the addition of early voting does not make up for the fact that many people are uninterested in elections, said Andrea Benjamin, a professor at the University of Oklahoma who studies race and politics. Jaden Edison, Hartford Courant, 30 Oct. 2022 But the man was uninterested in her pitch, turning back into his house after Terech mentioned wanting to increase funding for public schools. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 25 Oct. 2022 Minor leaguers form a separate bargaining unit within the MLBPA, which negotiated its first collective bargaining agreement for big leaguers in 1968 but had until now been uninterested in representing players with minor league deals. Ronald Blum, ajc, 14 Sep. 2022 But investigators seemed largely uninterested in the case, which was widely assumed to be a drug deal gone wrong. Addie Morfoot, BostonGlobe.com, 1 Sep. 2022 Andrés seemed uninterested in rehashing his battle with Trump. Emily Heil, Washington Post, 13 June 2022 But the show seemed uninterested in grappling with this messiness, and instead treated it just as age-inappropriate adultery. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 8 June 2022 As Rogozov recalls, Pavel Durov did not care much for Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, or Chris Cox, its chief product officer, who both seemed uninterested in a long dialog with the VK team. Darren Loucaides, Wired, 8 Feb. 2022 The band seemed uninterested in politics, in the state of the nation, or in the traditional patricidal revolt of most rock and roll. James Wood, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1661, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of uninterested was in 1661

Dictionary Entries Near uninterested

Cite this Entry

“Uninterested.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uninterested. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



: not interested : not paying attention

More from Merriam-Webster on uninterested

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