use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

in·ter·est (ĭntrĭst, -tər-ĭst, -trĕst)
Share:
n.
1.
a. A state of curiosity or concern about or attention to something: an interest in sports.
b. Something, such as a quality, subject, or activity, that evokes this mental state: counts the theater among his interests.
2. often interests Regard for one's own benefit or advantage; self-interest: It is in your best interest to cooperate. She kept her own interests in mind.
3.
a. A right, claim, or legal share: an interest in the new company.
b. Something in which such a right, claim, or share is held: has interests overseas.
c. A person or group of persons holding such a right, claim, or share: a petroleum interest.
4. Involvement with or participation in something: She has an interest in the quality of her education.
5.
a. A charge for a loan, usually a percentage of the amount loaned.
b. An excess or bonus beyond what is expected or due.
6.
a. An interest group.
b. The particular cause supported by an interest group.
tr.v. in·ter·est·ed, in·ter·est·ing, in·ter·ests
1. To arouse the curiosity or hold the attention of: Your opinions interest me.
2. To cause to become involved or concerned with: tried to interest her in taking a walk.
3. Archaic To concern or affect.
Idiom:
in the interest/interests of
To the advantage of; for the sake of: thinking in the interest of the whole family; ate breakfast on the train in the interest of time.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin, it is of importance, third person sing. present tense of interesse, to be between, take part in : inter-, inter- + esse, to be; see es- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.