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Borrowing from Old French interesse and interest (French intérêt), from Medieval Latin interesse, from Latin interesse.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɪntɹɪst/, /ˈɪntɹɛst/, /-təɹ-/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: in‧ter‧est


interest (usually uncountable, plural interests)

  1. (uncountable, finance) The price paid for obtaining, or price received for providing, money or goods in a credit transaction, calculated as a fraction of the amount or value of what was borrowed. [from earlier 16th c.]
    Our bank offers borrowers an annual interest of 5%.
  2. (uncountable) A great attention and concern from someone or something; intellectual curiosity. [from later 18th c.]
    He has a lot of interest in vintage cars.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 10, in The Celebrity:
      The skipper Mr. Cooke had hired at Far Harbor was a God-fearing man with a luke warm interest in his new billet and employer, and had only been prevailed upon to take charge of the yacht after the offer of an emolument equal to half a year's sea pay of an ensign in the navy.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      Thinks I to myself, “Sol, you're run off your course again. This is a rich man's summer ‘cottage’ and if you don't look out there's likely to be some nice, lively dog taking an interest in your underpinning.”
  3. (uncountable) Attention that is given to or received from someone or something.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      [] St. Bede's at this period of its history was perhaps the poorest and most miserable parish in the East End of London. Close-packed, crushed by the buttressed height of the railway viaduct, rendered airless by huge walls of factories, it at once banished lively interest from a stranger's mind and left only a dull oppression of the spirit.
    • 2013 August 10, “Standing orders”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      Over the past few years, however, interest has waxed again. A series of epidemiological studies, none big enough to be probative, but all pointing in the same direction, persuaded Emma Wilmot of the University of Leicester, in Britain, to carry out a meta-analysis. This is a technique that combines diverse studies in a statistically meaningful way.
    • 2013 June 21, Chico Harlan, “Japan pockets the subsidy []”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 2, page 30:
      Across Japan, technology companies and private investors are racing to install devices that until recently they had little interest in: solar panels. Massive solar parks are popping up as part of a rapid build-up that one developer likened to an "explosion."
  4. (countable) An involvement, claim, right, share, stake in or link with a financial, business, or other undertaking or endeavor.
    When scientists and doctors write articles and when politicians run for office, they are required in many countries to declare any existing conflicts of interest.
    I have business interests in South Africa.
  5. (countable) Something one is interested in.
    Lexicography is one of my interests.
    Victorian furniture is an interest of mine.
  6. (obsolete, rare) Injury, or compensation for injury; damages.
    • , II.12:
      How can this infinite beauty, power and goodnes admit any correspondencie or similitude with a thing so base and abject as we are, without extreme interest and manifest derogation from his divine greatnesse?
  7. (usually in the plural) The persons interested in any particular business or measure, taken collectively.
    the iron interest;  the cotton interest


  • (fraction of the amount or value of what was borrowed): cost of money


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


interest (third-person singular simple present interests, present participle interesting, simple past and past participle interested)

  1. To engage the attention of; to awaken interest in; to excite emotion or passion in, in behalf of a person or thing.
    It might interest you to learn that others have already tried that approach.
    Action films don't really interest me.
  2. (obsolete, often impersonal) To be concerned with or engaged in; to affect; to concern; to excite.
    • Ford
      Or rather, gracious sir, / Create me to this glory, since my cause / Doth interest this fair quarrel.
  3. (obsolete) To cause or permit to share.
    • Hooker
      The mystical communion of all faithful men is such as maketh every one to be interested in those precious blessings which any one of them receiveth at God's hands.


Derived termsEdit



Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: story · deep · meet · #472: interest · brother · I've · longer





interest m (plural interesten, diminutive interestje n)

  1. (finance) interest





  1. third-person singular present active indicative of intersum


Middle FrenchEdit


interest m (plural interests)

  1. interest (great attention and concern from someone or something)