[dis-in-tuh-res-tid, -tri-stid]


unbiased by personal interest or advantage; not influenced by selfish motives: a disinterested decision by the referee.
not interested; indifferent.

Origin of disinterested

First recorded in 1605–15; dis-1 + interested
Related formsdis·in·ter·est·ed·ly, adverbdis·in·ter·est·ed·ness, nounnon·dis·in·ter·est·ed, adjective
Can be confuseddisinterested uninterested (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonyms for disinterested

Antonyms for disinterested

Usage note

Disinterested and uninterested share a confused and confusing history. Disinterested was originally used to mean “not interested, indifferent”; uninterested in its earliest use meant “impartial.” By various developmental twists, disinterested is now used in both senses. Uninterested is used mainly in the sense “not interested, indifferent.” It is occasionally used to mean “not having a personal or property interest.”
Many object to the use of disinterested to mean “not interested, indifferent.” They insist that disinterested can mean only “impartial”: A disinterested observer is the best judge of behavior. However, both senses are well established in all varieties of English, and the sense intended is almost always clear from the context.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disinterestedly

Historical Examples of disinterestedly

  • You spoke to me, disinterestedly, on behalf of—I needn't name him.

  • Lady Leonora also wished extremely, and disinterestedly, for your company.

  • Lucius respects my father too much for that—and too disinterestedly.

    The Lion's Brood

    Duffield Osborne

  • They loved and were beloved—openly, devotedly, sincerely, disinterestedly.


    Martin Farquhar Tupper

  • I asked, trying to put the question as disinterestedly as possible.

    Major Frank

    A. L. G. Bosboom-Toussaint

British Dictionary definitions for disinterestedly



free from bias or partiality; objective
not interested
Derived Formsdisinterestedly, adverbdisinterestedness, noun


Many people consider that the use of disinterested to mean not interested is incorrect and that uninterested should be used
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

Word Origin and History for disinterestedly



1610s, "unconcerned," the sense we now would ascribe to uninterested, with the sense of "impartial" going to disinteressed (c.1600). See dis- + interest. Modern sense of disinterested is first attested 1650s. As things now stand, disinterested means "free from personal bias," while uninterested means "caring nothing for the matter in question." Related: Disinterestedly; disinterestedness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper