dis·in·ter·est·ed (dĭs-ĭntrĭ-stĭd, -ĭntə-rĕs′tĭd)
1. Free of bias and self-interest; impartial: "disinterested scientific opinion on fluorides in the water supply" (Ellen R. Shell).
a. Not interested; indifferent: "supremely disinterested in all efforts to find a peaceful solution" (C.L. Sulzberger).
b. Having lost interest.
Usage Note: In traditional usage, disinterested can only mean "having no stake in an outcome," as in Since the judge stands to profit from the sale of the company, she cannot be considered a disinterested party in the dispute. This usage was acceptable to 98 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2013 survey. But despite critical disapproval, disinterested has come to be widely used to mean "uninterested" or "having lost interest," as in Since she discovered skiing, she's become disinterested in ice skating. The "not interested" meaning is actually the oldest sense of the word, going back to the 1600s. Despite its pedigree, this usage began to be considered an error in the 1900s. In five surveys spanning almost fifty years, the Usage Panel has consistently disapproved of sentences that use disinterested to mean "uninterested." In our 2013 survey, for example, 86 percent of the Usage Panel found the sentence It is difficult to imagine an approach better designed to prevent disinterested students from developing any intellectual maturity to be unacceptable. This figure is essentially unchanged from the 88 percent of the Panel that disapproved of the same sentence in 2001.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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