Word Confusion: Disinterested versus Uninterested

Posted April 7, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 25 August 2017

Not a common word confusion, but one that has been cropping up rather frequently. It must be the excitement in the Crimea these days. I wouldn’t say I was disinterested in events in Ukraine, but more uninterested. It’s always war, war, war over there. And I’m becoming bored with war.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Disinterested vs Uninterested” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

Return to top

Disinterested Uninterested
Credit to: Kidder, 177; Apple Dictionary.com

Photo of an insulation tester module

“Low-voltage Insulation Tester” is Tambo’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Such testers are totally disinterested in the results.

raccoon lying in the crook of a tree

“Bored” by Harlequeen from Cambridge, United Kingdom, is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

This raccoon is totally uninterested in his surroundings.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective Adjective


Not influenced by considerations of personal advantage

Having or feeling no interest in something


Not interested in or concerned about something or someone


A banker is under an obligation to give disinterested advice.

Her father was so disinterested in her progress that he only visited the school once.

The judge is disinterested.

I was totally uninterested in boys.

So many voters are uninterested voices.

Adverb: disinterestedly
Noun: disinterest, disinterestedness
Adjective: uninteresting
Adverb: uninterestedly, uninterestingly
Noun: uninterestedness, uninterestingness
History of the Word:
Early 17th century: a past participle of the rare verb disinterest [rid of interest or concern], from dis- meaning expressing removal + the verb interest. 1640s, meaning unbiased is from un- (not) + past participle of interest.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

Return to top

Pinterest Photo Credits

by CollegeDegrees360 is under the CC BY-SA license, via Visual Hunt.