Stephan mumbled that his boss seemed disinterested when he showed him the feasibility for a new project the company could invest in. He’s worried that he might lose his job if he keeps disturbing his boss for matters he’s uninterested in.

The words disinterested and uninterested are both adjectives and are often mixed together but for good reason. Originally when they were first used, they had different meanings, opposite to what they mean today. Many people continue to mistake them for one another thinking that they mean ‘a lack of interest’ but only the word ‘uninterested’ means that. The word ‘disinterested’ implies ‘impartial’ like when someone isn’t biased and doesn’t care anymore.

Nowadays, disinterested is used so frequently in sentences that it is probable that it might eradicate the use of uninterested completely.

Disinterested vs uninterested – definitions, meanings and example sentences

Definition of disinterested

The adjective disinterested denotes someone who is impartial and has no stake in the outcome of a matter.

Example sentences of disinterested

  • The disinterested referee held out a knock-out sign.

The people involved were obviously playing some game. The referee was unbiased and he showed a bold sign because whoever was playing last got knocked out.

  • The disinterested news anchor introduced people of the different political parties who had arrived at the show.

This sentence talks about an impartial or fair news anchor who announced the names of different political representatives at her show.

  • The doctor was disinterested when she informed the patient about different surgeries she could opt for.

This sentence showcases a very moralistic doctor. She introduced some methods of surgery to her patient but she was completely impartial in the matter and let the patient choose the best option for himself. Note that each of the surgeries had a different monetary value.

Definition of uninterested

The adjective uninterested denotes someone who is devoid of interest and doesn’t care about his surroundings. It can also be used in place of bored.

Example sentences of uninterested

  • Sarah is uninterested in the zoology textbook which she is trying to read, but because of the exams she cannot bring herself to leave it.

This sentence tells us that Sarah lacks interest in her zoology textbook, but due to the nearing exams she cannot let go of the book because she feels a strong obligation to pass with flying grades.

  • If you’ve already given an interview and do not receive a call back within two months then the company is uninterested in employing you.

This sentence gives great employment advice; if you’ve already given an interview but do not receive a call back within two months then the company is not interested in hiring you so you should probably move on.

  • The mayor pretended to be uninterested in the allegations imposed against him by the opposing party.

In this sentence, the mayor acted as though he lacked interest when the opposing party imposed accusations against him.

The words disinterested and uninterested can be hard to deal with. Here’s some extra advice. Disinterested cannot mean uninterested, but uninterested can mean disinterested so if you use disinterested in all the sentences it would be correct.

For you to remember which word to use in which context, here’s a helpful hack:

Disinterest is used when there isn’t a vested interest, like ‘Hira is disinterested anyways’.

Uninterested, however, is used when you don’t have an interest in a matter but your will is involved; for example, ‘Hira is uninterested because of something.’