[in-ter-ist, -trist]


verb (used with object)


    in the interest(s) of, to the advantage or advancement of; in behalf of: in the interests of good government.

Origin of interest

1225–75; (noun) Middle English < Medieval Latin, Latin: it concerns, literally, it is between; replacing interesse < Medieval Latin, Latin: to concern, literally, to be between; (v.) earlier interess as v. use of the noun; see inter-, esse
Related formso·ver·in·ter·est, nounpre·in·ter·est, noun, verbre·in·ter·est, noun, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for interest

Contemporary Examples of interest

Historical Examples of interest

  • Men who take from the poor daily interest for a drachma, and spend it in debauchery.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Nevertheless I continued to treat him well on account of the interest you felt in him.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • As for art and the sciences, these did not interest them very much.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • It was for ever fighting someone, somewhere, for causes which did not interest the subjects at all.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Strong as is the tie of interest, it has been often found ineffectual.

British Dictionary definitions for interest



the sense of curiosity about or concern with something or someonean interest in butterflies
the power of stimulating such a senseto have great interest
the quality of such stimulation
something in which one is interested; a hobby or pursuit
(often plural) benefit; advantagein one's own interest
(often plural)
  1. a right, share, or claim, esp in a business or property
  2. the business, property, etc, in which a person has such concern
  1. a charge for the use of credit or borrowed money
  2. such a charge expressed as a percentage per time unit of the sum borrowed or used
(often plural) a section of a community, etc, whose members have common aimswe must not offend the landed interest
declare an interest to make known one's connection, esp a prejudicial connection, with an affair

verb (tr)

to arouse or excite the curiosity or concern of
to cause to become involved in something; concern

Word Origin for interest

C15: from Latin: it concerns, from interesse; from inter- + esse to be
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 interest

mid-15c., "legal claim or right; concern; benefit, advantage;" earlier interesse (late 14c.), from Anglo-French interesse "what one has a legal concern in," from Medieval Latin interesse "compensation for loss," noun use of Latin interresse "to concern, make a difference, be of importance," literally "to be between," from inter- "between" (see inter-) + esse "to be" (see essence).

Cf. German Interesse, from the same Medieval Latin source. Form in English influenced 15c. by French interest "damage," from Latin interest "it is of importance, it makes a difference," third person singular present of interresse. Financial sense of "money paid for the use of money lent" (1520s) earlier was distinguished from usury (illegal under Church law) by being in reference to "compensation due from a defaulting debtor." Meaning "curiosity" is first attested 1771. Interest group is attested from 1907; interest rate by 1868.


"to cause to be interested," c.1600, earlier interesse (1560s), from the noun (see interest (n.)). Perhaps also from or influenced by interess'd, past participle of interesse.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for interest


The charge for borrowing money or the return for lending it.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with interest


see in one's interest; take an interest; vested interest; with interest.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.