Share this entry
disinterested Line breaks: dis|in¦ter|est¦ed
Pronunciation: /dɪsˈɪnt(ə)rɪstɪd/

Definition of disinterested in English:


1Not influenced by considerations of personal advantage: a banker is under an obligation to give disinterested advice
More example sentences
  • As a family friend with no further ambitions, he was able to offer disinterested advice to the inexperienced future president.
  • An adjudicator must be, and must be seen to be, disinterested, unbiased and impartial.
  • Now, this notion of disinterested advice may also repay a claimant's examination.
2Having or feeling no interest in something; uninterested: her father was so disinterested in her progress that he only visited the school once
More example sentences
  • A few women, however, began disinterested and grew more interested in the program over time.
  • With this new and bold initiative, we have shown to the world that Indian women are not politically passive or disinterested in public life.
  • At one in the morning, the Canadian border patrol guards were bored and disinterested.
uninterested, indifferent, incurious, unconcerned, unmoved, unresponsive, impassive, passive, detached, unfeeling, uncaring, unenthusiastic, lukewarm, bored, apathetic, blasé, nonchalant


Nowhere are the battle lines more deeply drawn in usage questions than over the difference between disinterested and uninterested. According to traditional guidelines, disinterested should never be used to mean ‘not interested’ (i.e. it is not a synonym for uninterested) but only to mean ‘impartial’, as in the judgements of disinterested outsiders are likely to be more useful. Ironically, the earliest recorded sense of disinterested is for the disputed sense. Today, the ‘incorrect’ use of disinterested is widespread: around a quarter of citations in the Oxford English Corpus for disinterested are for this sense.


Pronunciation: /dɪsˈɪnt(ə)rəstɪdli/
Example sentences
  • I saw a number of people crying at the veterans’ rally, and a number of people drifting around disinterestedly.
  • With no selfish motive, or desire to be awarded here or hereafter, quite disinterestedly have I devoted my life to the cause of independence, because I could not do otherwise.
  • Even as Manuel reprimanded them during his speech, many sat there disinterestedly, napped or kept busy with other things.
Pronunciation: /dɪsˈɪnt(ə)rɪstɪdnəs/
Example sentences
  • The problem is that the particularism of friendship is at odds with modern conceptions of virtue as disinterestedness and detachment.
  • The classical approach emphasizes scholarly disinterestedness and detachment.
  • One has to establish the credibility of the evidence; and the credibility of witnesses always depends on their disinterestedness.


Early 17th century: past participle of the rare verb disinterest 'rid of interest or concern', from dis- (expressing removal) + interest.

Definition of disinterested in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources