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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 unselfishly
Historical Examples
  • Of all the women he had known, she had most truly and unselfishly loved him.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • And how unselfishly England has wrought for the open door for all!

    Mark Twain's Speeches Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • He was simple and unselfish and he loved her simply and unselfishly.

    Fair Margaret Francis Marion Crawford
  • "Yet he also has unselfishly contributed to the general diversion," said Arden.

    Lady Lilith

    Stephen McKenna
  • Dora thought as she noted how unselfishly Jerry played the gracious host.

  • How patiently and unselfishly that toil was performed the history of Europe tells.

  • Love is stronger than Hate, I admit that, since Montrose acted so unselfishly as he did.

    A Son of Perdition

    Fergus Hume
  • You are as sincerely and unselfishly regarded in this house as you could be in your own home.

    Indian Summer William D. Howells
  • And now,” she said unselfishly, “tell me more about the changes at your place.

    Gray youth Oliver Onions
  • Each loved the other unselfishly, and had the courage of such love.

    Hawthorne and His Circle Julian Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for unselfishly


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 unselfishly



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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