Disinterested or Uninterested?

What Is the Difference between "Disinterested" and "Uninterested"?

"Disinterested" and "uninterested" are easy to confuse because both meanings relate to having no interest. However, their meanings are different.
  • "Disinterested" means impartial. For example:
    • Jury members must be disinterested in the case. correct tick
  • "Uninterested" means not interested.
    • The students are uninterested in the new policy. correct tick
disinterested or uninterested?

More about "Disinterested"

"Disinterested" means "not taking sides" or "impartial." It is usually used to describe a person with no personal benefit at stake.
  • We are struggling to identify twelve disinterested people for the jury. correct tick
  • (We are struggling to identify twelve impartial people.)
  • An investigation into the penalty decision has reportedly uncovered that the referee was not disinterested in the outcome of the match. correct tick
  • (The referee had a personal interest in one particular side winning.)
  • Most of the spectators at the football match were disinterested.
  • (This is only correct if the writer means that most the spectators did not support one side or the other. The match may have been very interesting.)

A Referee Is Disinterested

This sentence may help you to remember that "disinterested" means "impartial":

Do not disrespect the referee. He is disinterested.

More about "Uninterested"

"Uninterested" means "not interested." It is the consequence of something being uninteresting (i.e., boring or uneventful).
  • Paul, I am quickly becoming uninterested in your ideas. correct tick
  • (Paul's ideas arouse no interest.)
  • I used to collect stamps, but I am uninterested these days. correct tick
  • (I find it boring these days.)

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the difference between "disinterested" and "uninterested." video lesson

Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer video to text? Here is a list of all our grammar videos.

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.