[ in-ter-ist, -trist ]
See synonyms for: interestinterestedinterestinginterests on

  1. the feeling of a person whose attention, concern, or curiosity is particularly engaged by something: She has a great interest in the poetry of Donne.

  2. something that concerns, involves, draws the attention of, or arouses the curiosity of a person: His interests are philosophy and chess.

  1. power of exciting such concern, involvement, etc.; quality of being interesting: political issues of great interest.

  2. concern; importance: a matter of primary interest.

  3. a business, cause, or the like in which a person has a share, concern, responsibility, etc.

  4. a share, right, or title in the ownership of property, in a commercial or financial undertaking, or the like: He bought half an interest in the store.

  5. a participation in or concern for a cause, advantage, responsibility, etc.

  6. a number or group of persons, or a party, financially interested in the same business, industry, or enterprise: the banking interest.

  7. interests, the group of persons or organizations having extensive financial or business power.

  8. the state of being affected by something in respect to advantage or detriment: We need an arbiter who is without interest in the outcome.

  9. benefit; advantage: to have one's own interest in mind.

  10. regard for one's own advantage or profit; self-interest: The partnership dissolved because of their conflicting interests.

  11. influence from personal importance or capability; power of influencing the action of others.

  12. Finance.

    • a sum paid or charged for the use of money or for borrowing money: If I won the lottery, I would invest the money, quit working and live off the interest.

  13. something added or thrown in above an exact equivalent: Jones paid him back with a left hook and added a right uppercut for interest.

verb (used with object)
  1. to engage or excite the attention or curiosity of: Mystery stories interested him greatly.

  2. to concern (a person, nation, etc.) in something; involve: The fight for peace interests all nations.

  1. to cause to take a personal concern or share; induce to participate: to interest a person in an enterprise.

  2. to cause to be concerned; affect.

Idioms about interest

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

Origin of interest

First recorded in 1225–75; Middle English noun interest, intrest, entrest “legal claim or right,” from Medieval Latin, Latin interest “it concerns,” literally, “it is between,” replacing the Medieval Latin infinitive interesse, used as a noun, from Latin; see inter-, esse

Other words from interest

  • o·ver·in·ter·est, noun
  • pre·in·ter·est, noun, verb
  • re·in·ter·est, noun, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use interest in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for interest


/ (ˈɪntrɪst, -tərɪst) /

  1. the sense of curiosity about or concern with something or someone: an interest in butterflies

  2. the power of stimulating such a sense: to have great interest

  1. the quality of such stimulation

  2. something in which one is interested; a hobby or pursuit

  3. (often plural) benefit; advantage: in one's own interest

  4. (often plural)

    • a right, share, or claim, esp in a business or property

    • the business, property, etc, in which a person has such concern

    • a charge for the use of credit or borrowed money

    • such a charge expressed as a percentage per time unit of the sum borrowed or used

  5. (often plural) a section of a community, etc, whose members have common aims: we must not offend the landed interest

  6. declare an interest to make known one's connection, esp a prejudicial connection, with an affair

  1. to arouse or excite the curiosity or concern of

  2. to cause to become involved in something; concern

Origin of 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

Cultural 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.

Other 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.