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[uhn-sel-fish] /ʌnˈsɛl fɪʃ/
not selfish; disinterested; generous; altruistic.
Origin of unselfish
First recorded in 1690-1700; un-1 + selfish
Related forms
unselfishly, adverb
unselfishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unselfish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was genuinely in love, even unselfishly—as far as he could be unselfish.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • "What a noble and unselfish love yours has been," she murmured.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Steenie's unselfish solitude of soul made him every day dearer to her.

    Heather and Snow George MacDonald
  • His mother was the most generous and the most unselfish of human beings.

    A Boy I Knew and Four Dogs Laurence Hutton
  • Yet he had thought her a rich, large soul, as unselfish as pure.

  • Take heart, Ralph Ray, most unselfish and long-suffering of men.

  • The old man was deeply moved, but his was the most unselfish of souls.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for unselfish


not selfish or greedy; generous
Derived Forms
unselfishly, adverb
unselfishness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unselfish

1690s, from un- (1) "not" + selfish. Cf. Danish uselvisk, Swedish osjälfvisk. Related: Unselfishly; unselfishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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