when to use Disinterested and Uninterested

Commonly Confused Words: Disinterested vs. Uninterested

by | Dec 11, 2020 | Commonly Confused Words, GrammarSpot | 0 comments

If I were to be on trial, I’d want to have a jury made up of disinterested citizens. If they were uninterested, I might start to worry. There are two very different meanings when you consider disinterested vs. uninterested, though they are often confused and incorrectly used interchangeably. Before you become uninterested in a subject that you might be currently disinterested in, I’ll explain.

Disinterested vs. Uninterested at a Glance

  • Disinterested shows you are unbiased or impartial to a situation, often because the outcome makes no difference to your life.
  • Uninterested shows you have become unconcerned or indifferent, often because you have lost attentiveness or have become bored.

definition of uninterested


What’s the Difference Between Disinterested and Uninterested?

If you’re disinterested in a situation, it’s because it doesn’t make a difference to you and you don’t have a stake in how it turns out. If you’re uninterested in a situation, it’s because you have become bored.

You can see that disinterested is just the way something is, while uninterested is what becomes of something.


When To Use Disinterested

Disinterested is often used in business or in the legal world because many in those professions need to be impartial. You’d use disinterested to describe someone who isn’t influenced by situations for his or her own personal gain. If I were to need a synonym for disinterested, I’d use unprejudiced, neutral, non-partisan, unbiased or impartial. I might say I don’t have a preference for how something turns out, or the situation doesn’t make a difference to me.

definition of disinterested

Disinterested Examples:

  • My banker was disinterested in my choice of business venture, so I trusted his advice a little bit more.
  • I hope the referee for my game is disinterested because we have a pretty even match up tonight.
  • I was a disinterested spectator of the car accident and got a call from both insurance companies.


When To Use Uninterested

Uninterested is an adjective used to show how you feel about something. You’d use it to describe someone who has become bored with his or her circumstances. If I needed a synonym for uninterested, I’d use bored, not interested, indifferent or unconcerned. I might say I really don’t care about the subject, or I no longer wish to learn more about it.

Uninterested Examples:

  • Over time, I became uninterested in sewing, though it used to be my passion.
  • I invited 20 people to go to the movies, but they all sounded uninterested when I told them which show we were seeing.
  • I am completely uninterested in math, but they say it’s a critical subject that will help me get into college.

uninterested examples


You’re a Disinterested vs. Uninterested Professional

Now that you’ve taken some time to understand the difference between these two commonly confused words, you might become the disinterested vs. uninterested grammar police, but don’t go too crazy about it. I wouldn’t want your friends to become uninterested in hanging out with you now that you’re so well-versed on the subject.

Are there any other commonly confused words you can’t get straight? Comment below to let us know, and we’ll be happy to sort it out for you.