not selfish; disinterested; generous; altruistic.

Origin of unselfish

First recorded in 1690–1700; un-1 + selfish
Related formsun·self·ish·ly, adverbun·self·ish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unselfish

Contemporary Examples of unselfish

Historical Examples of unselfish

  • He was genuinely in love, even unselfishly—as far as he could be unselfish.


    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.

  • Yet he had thought her a rich, large soul, as unselfish as pure.

British Dictionary definitions for unselfish



not selfish or greedy; generous
Derived Formsunselfishly, adverbunselfishness, 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

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