Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Free of bias and self-interest; impartial: "disinterested scientific opinion on fluorides in the water supply” ( Ellen R. Shell).
  • adj. Not interested; indifferent: "supremely disinterested in all efforts to find a peaceful solution” ( C.L. Sulzberger).
  • adj. Having lost interest.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not influenced by regard to personal interest or advantage; free from selfish motive; having no relation of interest or feeling; not biased or prejudiced.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Free from self-interest; unbiased by personal interest or private advantage; acting from unselfish motives.
  • Not influenced or dictated by private advantage: as, a disinterested decision.
  • Synonyms Unbiased, impartial, unbought, incorruptible, unselfish, dispassionate, magnanimous. Disinterested and uninterested are sometimes confounded in speech, though rarely in writing. A disinterested person takes part in or concerns himself about the affairs of others without regard to sell-interest, or to any personal benefit to be gained by his action; an uninterested one takes no interest in or is indifferent to the matter under consideration: as, a disinterested witness; an uninterested spectator.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. unaffected by self-interest

Etymologies

From dis- +‎ interested. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He had never till now called upon me to make the shadow of a return for all his disinterested love -- _disinterested_, ah, was it so?

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 53, No. 327, January, 1843

  • The first of these defines aesthetic appreciation as _disinterested interest, _ gratuitously identifying self-interest with the practical pursuit of advantages we have not yet got; and overlooking the fact that such appreciation implies enjoyment and is so far the very reverse of disinterested.

    The Beautiful An Introduction to Psychological Aesthetics

  • By the term disinterested I mean detached from ulterior objects.

    The Unity of Civilization

  • Boyd had looked away, his expression disinterested.

    The Will

  • Moreover, Mr Webb's point about what he calls disinterested management -- that is to say, the management of banks by officers whose remuneration bears no relation to the profit made on each piece of business transacted -- is one of the matters in which English banking seems likely at least to be modified.

    War-Time Financial Problems

  • -- Hence the value we attach, in the exercise of all the affections, to what we call disinterested conduct, -- to him who does good by stealth, or who performs acts of exalted justice, generosity, or forbearance, under circumstances which exclude every idea of a selfish motive, -- or when self-interest and personal feeling are strongly and obviously opposed to them.

    The Philosophy of the Moral Feelings

  • Congress has shown itself to be serially disinterested is such matters.

    Matthew Yglesias » In the Long Run

  • What we call disinterested, however, super-cats might call aimless.

    This Simian World

  • It may refer, for instance, to the state of being free of prejudice or bias, to being "disinterested" - a word that in turn means almost the opposite of "uninterested."

    PTBC J-Log

  • Jacob – disinterested is exactly the word I was groping for but couldn’t find thank you!

    An Education « Tales from the Reading Room

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