Disinterested or Uninterested?

by Craig Shrives

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.
  • "Uninterested" means not interested.
    • The students are uninterested in the new policy.
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.
  • (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.
  • (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.

An impartial (or disinterested) referee

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.
  • (Paul's ideas arouse no interest.)
  • I used to collect stamps, but I am uninterested these days.
  • (I find it boring these days.)

A Video Summary

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

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? Common errors and FAQs Easily confused words

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