Nowhere are the battle lines more deeply drawn in usage questions than over the difference between disinterested and uninterested. According to traditional guidelines, disinterested should never be used to mean ‘not interested’ but only to mean ‘impartial’, as in the judgements of disinterested outsiders are likely to be more useful. Following this view, only uninterested means ‘not interested’, but the ‘incorrect’ use of disinterested is widespread. Nevertheless, in careful writing it is advisable to avoid using it to mean ‘not interested’ as many people will judge that use to be incorrect.
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