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

  • n. A state of curiosity or concern about or attention to something: an interest in sports.
  • n. Something, such as a quality, subject, or activity, that evokes this mental state: counts the theater among his interests.
  • n. Regard for one's own benefit or advantage; self-interest. Often used in the plural: It is in your best interest to cooperate. She kept her own interests in mind.
  • n. A right, claim, or legal share: an interest in the new company.
  • n. Something in which such a right, claim, or share is held: has interests overseas.
  • n. A person or group of persons holding such a right, claim, or share: a petroleum interest.
  • n. Involvement with or participation in something: She has an interest in the quality of her education.
  • n. A charge for a loan, usually a percentage of the amount loaned.
  • n. An excess or bonus beyond what is expected or due.
  • n. An interest group.
  • n. The particular cause supported by an interest group.
  • transitive v. To arouse the curiosity or hold the attention of: Your opinions interest me.
  • transitive v. To cause to become involved or concerned with: tried to interest her in taking a walk.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To concern or affect.
  • idiom interest To the advantage of; for the sake of: thinking in the interest of the whole family; ate breakfast on the train in the interest of time.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Attention that is given to or received from someone or something.
  • n. A business or amorous link or involvement.
  • n. Injury, or compensation for injury; damages.
  • v. To attract attention or concern.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Excitement of feeling, whether pleasant or painful, accompanying special attention to some object; concern; a desire to learn more about a topic or engage often in an activity.
  • n. Participation in advantage, profit, and responsibility; share; portion; part
  • n. Advantage, personal or general; good, regarded as a selfish benefit; profit; benefit.
  • n. A fee paid for the use of money; a fee paid for a loan; -- usually reckoned as a percentage.
  • n. Any excess of advantage over and above an exact equivalent for what is given or rendered.
  • n. The persons interested in any particular business or measure, taken collectively
  • transitive v. To engage the attention of; to awaken interest in; to excite emotion or passion in, in behalf of a person or thing
  • transitive v. To be concerned with or engaged in; to affect; to concern; to excite; -- often used impersonally.
  • transitive v. To cause or permit to share.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To concern; affect; be of advantage or importance to.
  • To engage the attention of; excite concern in; stimulate to feeling or action in regard to something.
  • To cause to take a personal concern or share; induce to participate: as, to interest a person in an enterprise.
  • To place or station.
  • n. That which concerns or is of importance; that which is advantageous, or connected with advantage or welfare; concern; concernment; behoof; advantage: as, the common interests of life; to act for the public interest.
  • n. The feeling that something (the object of the feeling) concerns one; a feeling of the importance of something with reference to one's self; a feeling of personal concernment in an object, such as to fix the attention upon it; appreciative or sympathetic regard: as, to feel an interest in a person; to excite one's interest in a project; a subject of absorbing interest.
  • n. Personal or selfish consideration; regard to private benefit or profit: as, his actions are controlled by interest; the clashing of rival interests.
  • n. Influence from personal importance or capability; power of influencing the action of others: as, he has interest at court; to solicit a person's interest in behalf of an application.
  • n. Personal possession or right of control; share or participation in ownership: as, to have great interests in a county; an interest in a stock company; also, anything that is of importance from a commercial or financial point of view; a business; property in general: as, the mining interests.
  • n. In law, in the most general sense, legal concern of a person in a thing or in the conduct of another person, whether it consist in a right of enjoyment in or benefit from property, or a right of advantage, or a subjection to liability in the event of conduct; more specifically, a right in property, or to some of those uses or benefits from which the property is inseparable.
  • n. Payment, or a sum paid, for the use of money, or for forbearance of a debt.
  • n. Hence Something added or thrown in by way of premium or enhancement; an added quantity over and above what is due, deserved, or expected.

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

  • n. the power of attracting or holding one's attention (because it is unusual or exciting etc.)
  • n. (law) a right or legal share of something; a financial involvement with something
  • n. a diversion that occupies one's time and thoughts (usually pleasantly)
  • n. a fixed charge for borrowing money; usually a percentage of the amount borrowed
  • v. be of importance or consequence
  • v. be on the mind of
  • n. a sense of concern with and curiosity about someone or something
  • v. excite the curiosity of; engage the interest of
  • n. (usually plural) a social group whose members control some field of activity and who have common aims
  • n. a reason for wanting something done


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin, it is of importance, third person sing. present tense of interesse, to be between, take part in : inter-, inter- + esse, to be.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French interesse and interest (French: intérêt), from Medieval Latin interesse, from Latin interesse. (Wiktionary)



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