Yo, Grammar: What's up with "disinterested" and "uninterested"?
“Disinterested” is an interesting word:
- The average person thinks that it means “not interested,” i.e., “uninterested.”
- But veterans of standardized tests and people with strong vocabularies insist that it doesn’t mean “not interested”; it actually means “unbiased” or “impartial.”
- However, the original definition of “disinterested” actually meant “not interested.”
Therefore, if you were on trial for murder, you would want a disinterested judge, not an uninterested one.
An uninterested judge couldn’t care less why you were in the courthouse, what crime you were charged with, or what the punishment would be if you were found guilty.
In fact, he or she might be doing everything possible not to fall asleep.