disinterested

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From dis- +‎ interested.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈsɪnt(ə)ɹɛstᵻd/

Adjective[edit]

disinterested (comparative more disinterested, superlative most disinterested)

  1. Having no stake or interest in the outcome; free of bias, impartial. [from 17th c.]
    • 1791, James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson:
      Sir, you have a right to that kind of respect, and are arguing for yourself. I am supporting the principle, and am disinterested in doing it, as I have no such right.
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, ch. 1:
      With his disinterested passion for art, he had a real desire to call the attention of the wise to a talent which was in the highest degree original; [...]
    • 2011, Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Penguin 2012, p. 220:
      People are better off abjuring violence, if everyone else agrees to do so, and vesting authority in a disinterested third party.
    • 2014 April 12, Michael Inwood, “Martin Heidegger: the philosopher who fell for Hitler [print version: Hitler's philosopher]”, The Daily Telegraph (Review), page R10:
      [P]hilosophers of the time [early 20th century] were primarily concerned with epistemology and the foundations of the sciences; they often spoke as if we were separated from the real world by a screen of "representations" or "sense-data"; they tended to regard our approach to the world as one of disinterested observation.
  2. Uninterested, lacking interest. [from 17th c.]
    • 1684, Contempl. State of Man I. x
      How dis-interested are they in all Worldly matters, since they fling their Wealth and Riches into the Sea.
    • 1936, Djuna Barnes, Nightwood, Faber & Faber 2007, p. 43:
      Robin took to wandering again, to intermittent travel from which she came back hours, days later, disinterested.
    • 1967, Tommy Frazer, The Sun (Baltimore), "A 'Doctor' Of Karate", March 27
      Those spotted are usually taught so slowly that they grow disinterested and quit.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The majority[1][2] now consider that usage of this word with the meaning of uninterested is acceptable. The contrary opinion[3] is now dated.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 2nd Edition by H.W. Fowler, revised by Ernest Gowers (1965; Oxford at the Clarendon Press; London).
  2. ^ “disinterested” in OED Online, Oxford University Press, 1989.
  3. ^ An ABC of English Usage, H.A. Treble and G.H Vallins (1968; Oxford at the Clarendon Press; London.