Definition of interest in English:



  • 1mass noun The feeling of wanting to know or learn about something or someone.

    ‘she looked about her with interest’
    in singular ‘he developed an interest in art’
    • ‘I appreciate that it was an achievement but it is one in which neither I, nor any of my friends, has any interest.’
    • ‘It was a business and Robert saw the potential because a few of their friends expressed interest.’
    • ‘If you want to add some visual interest to your art, try a little texture.’
    • ‘The group gig together about four times a week and have attracted considerable interest from record companies.’
    • ‘At the early meetings there was great interest and enthusiasm, but that dwindled.’
    • ‘Not even the Presidential elections aroused much interest locally.’
    • ‘I'm sure your friends will feign interest for two seconds the quickly disown you if you purchase a pair to show off.’
    • ‘Since we're always looking for games that might stand apart, our interest was piqued to learn more.’
    • ‘A lot of hard work and time has gone into them and they are to be commended on their interest and enthusiasm in seeing it through.’
    • ‘The pressure of record company and press interest was only heightened by the band's refusal to sign a deal until they had written more songs.’
    • ‘I appreciate their interest and good wishes, I just keep crying every time I think about it.’
    • ‘In Scotland last week his visit caused a great deal of media interest.’
    • ‘There has been a good deal of local interest shown in the campaign and the race is on to see who will be elected Lord Mayor.’
    • ‘That was certainly of personal interest to me to learn, after having been here some 6 years.’
    • ‘The details could only have come from somebody who has either learned or developed a desire and interest for detail.’
    • ‘This perked his interest to learn more about why Gabi stole it behind Creg's back in the first place.’
    • ‘I appreciate your interest and will do my best to answer your questions.’
    • ‘The interest shown in this art form, irrespective of the language it is presented in, has helped revive many theatre groups.’
    • ‘I felt that it might lead me to understand why photography as an art form compels my interest.’
    • ‘There is great interest and people are learning a classical art form with great enthusiasm and dedication.’
    attentiveness, undivided attention, absorption, engrossment, heed, regard, notice, scrutiny
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The quality of exciting curiosity or holding the attention.
      ‘a tale full of interest’
      • ‘The Best of Gay Britain is a boxed set of three full-length features of varying interest and quality.’
      • ‘Perhaps that is why this week there are a number of films of average quality or minority interest.’
      • ‘The news will be of significant interest to City, who stand to land a sizeable chunk of any transfer fee United pull in for the highly rated youngster.’
      • ‘The squad for Bremen next weekend is full of local interest.’
      • ‘Unless poll results are meant to influence those yet to vote they are of academic or curiosity interest only.’
      • ‘His maps are now highly sought after - striking to look at, more than 300 years old and full of local interest and colour.’
      attraction, appeal, fascination, charm, beauty, allure, allurement, temptation, tantalization
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2count noun An activity or subject which one enjoys doing or studying.
      ‘their sole interests are soccer, drink, and cars’
      • ‘However he was able to pursue his mathematical interests and studied algebra and number theory in addition to philosophy.’
      • ‘They talked about his new interests and activities, sometimes with a progress report on educational pursuits or piano lessons.’
      • ‘Before you visit, try asking parents about their teenager's interests and activities so that you will have something to talk about.’
      • ‘A scholar with many interests, Bird enjoyed photography, the outdoors, and many different cultural foods.’
      • ‘Children need to be engaged in worthwhile, authentic learning activities that encourage their interests and abilities.’
      • ‘His only interest was art and he was lucky that some of his teachers allowed him time to pursue this during school hours.’
      • ‘Both are 9 years old, have birthdays 3 weeks apart and enjoy similar interests.’
      • ‘I would enjoy writing to a woman who is smart, open-minded and enjoys similar interests.’
      • ‘So his interests and his activities outside of Iraq are nothing new.’
      • ‘Because his real interests were in the study of natural history, especially watching birds.’
      • ‘He now feels that he is no longer under pressure, as he was in Australia, and can relax and enjoy some other interests and hobbies.’
      • ‘You are asked to list recreational interests and activities, membership of clubs and societies.’
      • ‘Till a few years ago, his main interests and activities were physically oriented.’
      • ‘I have multiple interests, so the subjects I'm interested in vary.’
      • ‘Over the years, the couple have enjoyed similar interests.’
      • ‘Apart from his academic interests, he enjoys horse riding, cinema, reading and meeting his friends.’
      • ‘He has enjoyed a variety of interests, including the visual arts, the theater and sports.’
      • ‘Before that effort begins, let me encourage you to please send an e-mail of your current activities and interests.’
      • ‘I always admired in particular his broad range of interests and activities.’
      • ‘Another passion of his was astronomy, which gradually developed into his primary interest.’
      hobby, pastime, leisure activity, leisure pursuit, recreation, entertainment, diversion, amusement, relaxation
      View synonyms
  • 2mass noun Money paid regularly at a particular rate for the use of money lent, or for delaying the repayment of a debt.

    ‘the monthly rate of interest’
    as modifier ‘interest payments’
    • ‘Of course, governments can print money and cut interest rates in an attempt to avert deflation.’
    • ‘Debt charities are warning consumers to think hard about how to manage their debts as interest rates rise.’
    • ‘If he had, he might think twice about clamping down on the economy by repeatedly raising interest rates.’
    • ‘Worries about default are also driving up interest rates on Brazil's foreign debt.’
    • ‘The money saved on interest repayments can be put to good use elsewhere.’
    • ‘If there is another agency which is lending money at better interest rates and with better conditions, I am ready to shift.’
    • ‘You're also building your assets and there's no extra money wasted on interest payments.’
    • ‘He was a specialist all his life in the theory of money and interest rates.’
    • ‘Central banks also manage liquidity in order to smooth out volatility in the money market interest rates.’
    • ‘This lowered interest rates and transferred capital from public to private use.’
    • ‘The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates and appears ready to continue to do so for some time.’
    • ‘That includes not only tax rebates and lower interest rates but lower energy prices as well.’
    • ‘One way to dampen flows of borrowed money is to raise interest rates, which the central bank has tried.’
    • ‘How much will it cost by the time you have repaid your debt (capital plus interest repayments)?’
    • ‘Governments have saved billions by refinancing the national debt at lower interest rates.’
    • ‘The bank will not lend money, and interest payments and receipts are forbidden.’
    • ‘Coupled with this is the fact that falling interest rates mean lower repayments for those buying into the market.’
    • ‘Fixed or variable interest rates are applied, with payments spread over 24 to 48 months.’
    • ‘It computes the effective interest rate for an investment compounded at different intervals.’
    • ‘With low interest rates, profit margins on retail deposits have been sharply squeezed.’
    dividends, profits, returns
    View synonyms
  • 3The advantage or benefit of a person or group.

    ‘the merger is not contrary to the public interest’
    ‘it is in your interest to keep your insurance details to hand’
    ‘we are acting in the best interests of our customers’
    • ‘This would not seem to be the noblest form of patriotism, which calls us to look beyond private interests to the public benefit.’
    • ‘We buy and sell because it's in our interest to buy and sell.’
    • ‘It's not in his interest to sell the argument that he's fundamentally different.’
    • ‘Since people can convince themselves of anything that is to their benefit or is in their interest, this is not surprising.’
    • ‘The public interest, for whose benefit it was enacted, would not be served by construing the words in a narrow or technical way.’
    • ‘He says intending buyers will be aware that more blocks will be opened up in the area, and may judge that it will be in their interest to wait.’
    • ‘The cards have discounts and benefits for the youngsters so it is in their interest to carry them.’
    • ‘To the best of my knowledge, it is in their interest to play a positive role in addressing this sensitive issue as soon as possible.’
    • ‘And to attack us in a way that might provoke a response, I don't think is in his interest.’
    • ‘I feel as if they actually put the customer first and that everything they do is in our interest.’
    • ‘You wanted to build bikes, but it is the consuming public that decides whether it is in our interest to do so.’
    • ‘It's therefore in their interest to publicly explain what happened to Mr. Johnson as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Honestly, though, I'm not sure that bilateral talks are in our interest at all.’
    • ‘Selling the city's crown jewels is not in our interest.’
    • ‘Corporations will choose to promote vacuous materialist music as it is often in their interest to do so.’
    • ‘Anyway, I need to talk to him because I've worked out a way by which he can keep the country afloat; and it's in his interest to listen.’
    • ‘It would not be in their interest to reduce trading links.’
    • ‘They may very well see it in their interest to throw down their weapons - or turn them on their leadership.’
    • ‘You walk into a shop or into your financial broker's rooms, and it's up to you to know what's in your interest and what's not.’
    • ‘Likewise, beefing up peacekeeping capacity is very much in our interest.’
    of benefit to, to the advantage of, for the sake of, for the benefit of
    concern, business, business matter, matter, care
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    1. 3.1archaic The selfish pursuit of one's own welfare; self-interest.
      • ‘It becomes an authentic spiritual experience only if it is totally free from selfish and mercenary interests on the part of those who facilitate it.’
      • ‘Selfish interests of pressure-groups are to be nipped in the bud.’
      • ‘Brown's comments will strike a chord with those who feel that selfish interests and private agendas are being put ahead of the greater good of the game in Scotland and Holland.’
      • ‘They are only thinking about their own selfish interests.’
      • ‘From the start, those that have championed the path of anarchy have exposed themselves as malcontents with selfish interests at heart.’
  • 4A stake or involvement in an undertaking, especially a financial one.

    ‘holders of voting rights must disclose their interests’
    ‘he must have no personal interest in the outcome of the case’
    • ‘Scrutiny of the helicopter company has also extended into a detailed examination of the financial interests of the Haughey family.’
    • ‘Apart from the strategic concerns and government revenue at stake, immense corporate interests are involved.’
    • ‘Because of all the financial interests at stake, the sport is turning into a mafia.’
    • ‘Secondly, managers themselves often have personal financial interests and their careers at stake in mergers.’
    • ‘It also dilutes shareholders' interests - a real cost, but one that is often ignored.’
    • ‘GPs will also be forced to disclose all financial interests and gifts from patients, under the new proposals.’
    • ‘Such moves protect existing shareholders' interests but make it hard for newcomers to invest.’
    • ‘The institute subsequently posted on its website the financial interests of all those involved.’
    • ‘Jordan has huge interests, huge stakes, involved in what's going on.’
    • ‘As the system gets less competitive, the monetary stakes for the interests involved get higher.’
    • ‘My own financial interests and management control are assured by the management contract that I've set in place.’
    • ‘It could, perhaps more accurately, be described as a bailout of those US financial interests with investments in Mexican bonds.’
    • ‘Unlawful interference with economic interests will arise in situations in which a defendant commits an actionable wrong with the intention of harming the plaintiff.’
    • ‘That will allow you or another family member to represent your parents' medical and financial interests.’
    • ‘This will force them to dilute current shareholders' interests due to the large amount of funds that have to be raised in order to finance the purchases.’
    • ‘Clearly there is a financial interest because the Church's structures involve an enormous plant.’
    • ‘Proffered concerns about underage drinking are thus merely a stalking horse for the financial interests at stake in these cases.’
    • ‘The nomination underscores the real economic and financial interests at stake in the US military intervention in Central Asia.’
    stake, share, portion, claim, investment, stock, equity
    involvement, partiality, partisanship, preference, loyalty
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 A legal concern, title, or right in property.
      ‘third parties having an interest in a building’
      • ‘You might remember the Queensland Act, purported to extinguish native title interests.’
      • ‘It was his view that the plaintiff had to arrange to have the encumbrancers' interests removed from title.’
      • ‘Furthermore a witness has no right of appeal from a decision of the Crown Court which may affect his or her property interests.’
      • ‘It is another indication, with respect, that native title interests are still at large here.’
      • ‘On 22 February 1990 Mr Green executed a deed of gift transferring his freehold and leasehold interests into the joint names of his wife and himself.’
      • ‘The Inspectors then discussed a sale of the Trustee's property interests to another co-owner.’
      • ‘The tenant shall have the option to purchase the reversionary interest of the property on the terms set out in the Schedule hereto.’
      • ‘Where there is an assignment by a lessor to a lessee the interest which the lessee takes is the interest which the lessor himself had.’
      • ‘The company also has significant property interests and hotel investments.’
      • ‘It was also felt that in almost all cases the affected authorities would strongly object to the taking of a freehold interest instead of a lease.’
      • ‘In both cases, the duty in tort serves to protect the bodily integrity and property interests of the inhabitants of the building.’
      • ‘The evidence of enjoyment of native title rights and interests was extremely limited.’
      • ‘There is obviously some factor at work which tends to reduce value in each case, probably substantial leasehold interests inferior to the freehold.’
      • ‘To avoid doubt, native title or native title rights and interests may have been extinguished other than by this Act.’
      • ‘It may have a substantial operation though in relation to native title interests.’
      • ‘If one focuses on what those interests are, in my submission, they are substantive legal interests.’
      • ‘The trio lost the skirmish concerning Grand Boulevard property interests, but the war may not be over.’
      • ‘Has the supplier a taxable interest in the property and has he disposed of such an interest?’
      • ‘Under those circumstances I am of the view that I have no authority to deal with the property interests of the respondent.’
      • ‘Shelbourne Developments has significant property interests.’
  • 5usually interestsA group or organization having a common concern, especially in politics or business.

    ‘food interests in Scotland must continue to invest’
    • ‘A similar conflict is evident for organisations that represent business interests.’
    • ‘I understand that what we do affects many interests, of organised groups, politicians and shady businesses.’
    • ‘Business interests are happy, though, even though they resent Netanyahu for his stint as the prime minister.’
    • ‘But a powerful combination of Turkish and Russian politicians and business interests have pushed the project through.’
    • ‘The NRA have come in for strong criticism locally both from landowners affected by the route of the road and various political and business interests.’
    • ‘Nor should it be under the control of business interests or politicians.’
    • ‘This year 29 girls representing local business interests will take part and there is no doubt that the judges will have a very difficult decision to make.’
    • ‘The Government, business interests and civic organisations need to collaborate in the effort.’
    • ‘And at least some of them emanate from right wing political lobbies funded by big business interests who want to avoid being sued for malpractice.’
    • ‘They are in fact the heart and soul of it - carrying out the philosophies of the politicians and business interests.’
    • ‘Previously the party had been able to rely on large donations from business interests to a much greater extent than its political rivals.’
    • ‘Organisations that lobby for business interests are themselves in a very competitive game.’
    • ‘They had experienced for some time a strong current of editorial control being exercised by business and political interests.’
    • ‘Back in California, business interests were organizing a well-funded movement to derail Sinclair's campaign.’
    • ‘Local business and political interests have rallied to the defence of both Shannon Development and Shannon Airport this week.’
    • ‘The fear of ceding national sovereignty to business interests has unified this side into a form of nationalism.’
    • ‘Governments are thought to be impotent in the face of business interests to make improvements in people's lives.’
    • ‘Business interests think they know he's on their side, so they're inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.’
    • ‘However, the most common rumour making the rounds was that big business interests wanted the land which the mall occupied.’
    • ‘The politicians, business interests and journalists that were part of the Indonesian lobby in Australia did use racial stereotyping.’


[with object]
  • 1Excite the curiosity or attention of (someone)

    ‘I thought the book might interest Eliot’
    • ‘It depends on what you are looking for and what interests you.’
    • ‘Yet it is the only part that still interests us today.’
    • ‘I go to these chat rooms and these websites, because it interests me what people think.’
    • ‘Opening the door Rebecca first went to the shelves to find a book that could interest her.’
    • ‘First, find a product or service that excites and interests you.’
    • ‘Even a three-year old can begin to browse through the shelves, looking for different kinds of books that may interest her.’
    • ‘His book will interest anyone who wishes to probe beneath the surface of national identity.’
    • ‘And that is what interests me, the disjunction between these books.’
    • ‘But what really interests us is the marketing of these films.’
    • ‘This is the sort of observation that really interests me.’
    • ‘What really interests me is the person who wrote it.’
    • ‘Once I get absorbed in something that interests me, the world around me disappears.’
    • ‘But what interests me most about Dean isn't whether he's electable or not.’
    • ‘But what interests me is the number of people who still are interested.’
    • ‘It's my last column and, let's face it, I have no clue what interests you people.’
    • ‘It's the exchanging of ideas and views that most interests me.’
    • ‘It always interests me when people say it was a Southern strategy.’
    • ‘He has a very short attention span and unless something interests him he doesn't want to know.’
    • ‘You know, what interests me is this demand for an apology.’
    • ‘What really interests me is to compose music that can grip the listeners' imagination, as if they were seeing a film.’
    be of interest to, appeal to, attract, be attractive to, intrigue, fascinate
    arouse someone's interest in, persuade to buy, sell
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1interest someone in Persuade someone to undertake or acquire (something)
      ‘efforts were made to interest her in a purchase’


  • at interest

    • (of money borrowed) on the condition that interest is payable.

      ‘the lending of money at interest’
      • ‘They were seen as a necessary evil for the city economy to function: they could lend money at interest while the Christians couldn't.’
      • ‘Chapter 2 takes up the financial activities of elites, who routinely loaned money at interest.’
      • ‘The cartel wants economic growth, lots of borrowers, and lots of opportunities to lend newly created funny money at interest.’
      • ‘You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.’
      • ‘Conventional banking deals with it very effectively by advancing short-term loans, at interest.’
      • ‘Between 75% and 95% of cash value may be borrowed at interest or withdrawn, depending upon policy owner needs.’
      • ‘It would have the exclusive right to print currency, which the King could borrow - at interest, of course - to fight his war and finance whatever other spending programs he had in place at the time.’
      • ‘They were replaced by Italian merchants who had papal dispensations to lend money at interest.’
      • ‘Therefore, lending money at interest for investment, or for buying a home or a car, is not a sin at all.’
      • ‘Of course, citizens did regularly lend to each other at interest.’
  • declare an (or one's) interest

    • Make known one's financial interests in an undertaking before it is discussed.

      ‘failure to register or declare an interest while lobbying ministers’
      • ‘Responding to the criticism, Coun Sturgis said he has always declared his interest in the housing development during council meetings.’
      • ‘Two other clubs have also declared their interest in signing Leigh's Papua New Guinea international.’
      • ‘Let me declare my interest: I am CEO of Nanotechnology Victoria, a company set up to invest in nanotechnology to support Victorian industry.’
      • ‘Murphy declared his interest in the Eccles Street and Marlborough Street properties last October in the Corporation's register of interests.’
      • ‘Ever since he declared his interest just over a week ago, the City has been telling him they wanted at least 400p.’
      • ‘Last August, To was accused of failing to declare his interest in a flat he purchased and later transferred to the Democratic Party in 1997.’
      • ‘I've spoken to people at Tottenham, I've declared my interest.’
      • ‘Instead, a poker-faced Willis wanders around the camp like a wary housebuyer uncertain as to whether he should declare his interest.’
      • ‘Says Sue Matthews, chair of the ballet board, ‘We had to feel confident that the opera house was going to happen before we could publicly declare our interest.’’
      • ‘When Steve Archibald declared his interest in buying Airdrie this week he did not state whether he would also be making a playing comeback.’
  • in the interests (or interest) of something

    • For the benefit of.

      ‘in the interests of security we are keeping the information confidential’
      • ‘Yes, I was working in his interests but directors of companies must work in the interests of all shareholders.’
      • ‘The Government should act in their interests and not just in the interests of the elite who can afford to build nursing homes.’
      • ‘We are doing so because it is in our best interests and in the interests of our citizens.’
      • ‘‘The trustees have a simple duty: to act in the interest of the beneficiaries,’ he said.’
      • ‘It's not in the interest of our people, and it's not in the interest of the peace process.’
      • ‘If we felt that it is no longer in the interests of our children to take part then we would have no choice but to withdraw.’
      • ‘The fence must come down in the interests of the commonage rights of local farmers and in the interests of the local environment.’
      • ‘This is in our interest and in the interest of our clients.’
      • ‘One such principle holds that space is to be explored and used ‘for the benefit and in the interests of all countries.’’
      • ‘This may be in the interests of arms dealers, but is it in the interests of the global community?’
  • of interest

    • Interesting.

      ‘his book should be of interest to historians’
      • ‘The Tories have little to say of interest or importance on most of the political issues of the day.’
      • ‘An examination of the comparative situation in America would also be of interest.’
      • ‘If you have found any of the foregoing of interest to you, please don't hesitate to come and meet us.’
      • ‘They are available at all churches and are a good read and should be of interest to many.’
      • ‘Why should this book be of interest to readers in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in Europe?’
      • ‘English Heritage have already seen the school, and did not see enough of interest to list it.’
      • ‘Even if it is soon listed, it may still be of interest to a developer.’
      • ‘As you might be able to tell, there is relatively little of interest happening in Oxford.’
      • ‘It is of interest to take a look at a paper report of the damage done in the town of Carlow on that night.’
      • ‘The museum also had a large display showing items of interest, dating back centuries.’
  • with interest

    • 1With interest charged or paid.

      ‘loans that must be paid back with interest’
      • ‘It's not rocket science; if you borrow money, you have to pay it back with interest.’
      • ‘The money will be repaid, with interest and royalties, if the A350 is a success.’
      • ‘It is believed that the loan that was made available through Austin was repaid with interest.’
      • ‘Now the loan will be repayable from the fourth year over a period of 22 years with interest.’
      • ‘A chastened Black has promised that the money will be paid back with interest, but that is hardly the point.’
      • ‘Someone lends you half a billion interest free and you then loan it on with interest.’
      • ‘They want equity from you and they also want to see you have the income to pay back the loan with interest.’
      1. 1.1(of an action) reciprocated with more force or vigour than the original one.
        ‘she returned his look with interest’
        • ‘Any wayward kicking will be returned with interest by the English back three.’
        • ‘He has a huge serve and a nasty habit of returning with interest, but he is least at home on grass.’
        • ‘At fullback Barry Daniels returned the ball with interest on numerous storming gallops up field.’
        • ‘She kissed him and he stopped his protests, returning her advances with interest.’
        • ‘Every time Currie threw something at County it was returned with interest.’
        • ‘The re-start was returned to touch with interest by Binns and a scrum given.’


Late Middle English (originally as interess): from Anglo-Norman French interesse, from Latin interesse ‘differ, be important’, from inter- ‘between’ + esse ‘be’. The -t was added partly by association with Old French interest ‘damage, loss’, apparently from Latin interest ‘it is important’. The original sense was ‘the possession of a share in or a right to something’; hence interest (sense 4 of the noun). interest (sense 1 of the noun) and the verb arose in the 18th century interest (sense 2 of the noun) was influenced by medieval Latin interesse ‘compensation for a debtor's defaulting’.