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interest Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a sense of concern with and curiosity about someone or something
    • an interest in music
  2. noun a reason for wanting something done
    • for your sake
    • died for the sake of his country
    • in the interest of safety
    • in the common interest
  3. noun the power of attracting or holding one's attention (because it is unusual or exciting etc.)
    • they said nothing of great interest
    • primary colors can add interest to a room
  4. noun a fixed charge for borrowing money; usually a percentage of the amount borrowed
    • how much interest do you pay on your mortgage?
  5. noun (law) a right or legal share of something; a financial involvement with something
    • they have interests all over the world
    • a stake in the company's future
  6. noun (usually plural) a social group whose members control some field of activity and who have common aims
    interest group.
    • the iron interests stepped up production
  7. noun a diversion that occupies one's time and thoughts (usually pleasantly)
    pastime; pursuit.
    • sailing is her favorite pastime
    • his main pastime is gambling
    • he counts reading among his interests
    • they criticized the boy for his limited pursuits
  8. verb excite the curiosity of; engage the interest of
  9. verb be on the mind of
    occupy; worry; concern.
    • I worry about the second Germanic consonant shift
  10. verb be of importance or consequence
    matter to.
    • This matters to me!

In"ter*est transitive verb
From interess'd, p. p. of the older form interess, fr. F. intéresser, L. interesse. See Interest, n.
imperfect & past participle Interested ; present participle & verbal noun Interesting
  1. To engage the attention of; to awaken interest in; to excite emotion or passion in, in behalf of a person or thing; as, the subject did not interest him; to interest one in charitable work.
    To love our native country . . . to be interested in its concerns is natural to all men. Dryden.
    A goddess who used to interest herself in marriages. Addison.
  2. To be concerned with or engaged in; to affect; to concern; to excite; -- often used impersonally. Obs.
    Or rather, gracious sir, Create me to this glory, since my cause Doth interest this fair quarrel. Ford.
  3. To cause or permit to share. Obs.
    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. Hooker.
    Syn. -- To concern; excite; attract; entertain; engage; occupy; hold.
In"ter*est noun
OF. interest, F. intérêt, fr. L. interest it interests, is of interest, fr. interesse to be between, to be difference, to be importance; inter between + esse to be; cf. LL. interesse usury. See Essence.
  1. Excitement of feeling, whether pleasant or painful, accompanying special attention to some object; concern. Interest expresses mental excitement of various kinds and degrees. It may be intellectual, or sympathetic and emotional, or merely personal; as, an interest in philosophical research; an interest in human suffering; the interest which an avaricious man takes in money getting.
    So much interest have I in thy sorrow. Shak.
  2. Participation in advantage, profit, and responsibility; share; portion; part; as, an interest in a brewery; he has parted with his interest in the stocks.
  3. Advantage, personal or general; good, regarded as a selfish benefit; profit; benefit.
    Divisions hinder the common interest and public good. Sir W. Temple.
    When interest calls of all her sneaking train. Pope.
  4. Premium paid for the use of money, -- usually reckoned as a percentage; as, interest at five per cent per annum on ten thousand dollars.
    They have told their money, and let out Their coin upon large interest. Shak.
  5. Any excess of advantage over and above an exact equivalent for what is given or rendered.
    You shall have your desires with interest. Shak.
  6. The persons interested in any particular business or measure, taken collectively; as, the iron interest; the cotton interest.

Webster 1913