Conversation yesterday drifted towards the meaning of the word interesting.


  • engaging or exciting and holding the attention or curiosity
    1225–75; (noun) Middle English < Medieval Latin, Latin: it concerns, literally, it is between; replacing interesse < Medieval Latin, Latin: to concern, literally, to be between; (v.) earlier interess as v. use of the noun; —
  • holding the attention : arousing interest
    The word interesting originally meant “of concern”; it was a synonym of important. It comes from the verb interest, which in its original use meant “to induce or persuade to participate or engage.” If you were interested in something, you were not willing to be a bystander; you felt the need to participate or engage. — Merriam-Webster
  • inspiring interest; absorbing
    Very Common. interesting is one of the 4000 most commonly used words in the Collins
Usage of the work “Interesting” — Collins

My colleagues in this conversation tended towards the traditional definitions, as cited above. Accepting that, I also acknowledged the one submitted by

The adjective interesting describes something that makes you curious, or catches your attention, but sometimes people use the word in a doubtful way when they are taken aback but want to be polite. Like if your grandmother looks at your new tattoo and says, “Well, that’s certainly interesting!” Chances are she’s not actually feeling very enthusiastic about your choice of body art.


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