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[uhn-sel-fish] /ʌnˈsɛl fɪʃ/
not selfish; disinterested; generous; altruistic.
Origin of unselfish
1690-1700; un-1 + selfish
Related forms
unselfishly, adverb
unselfishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unselfish
  • Because they are unselfish, they are kind in little things.
  • Supervisors describe her as a professional who is unselfish, kind and extends herself beyond her required duties.
  • We must take a unselfish balanced approach to be living in harmony with nature.
  • Evolution, in our dog-eat-dog world, should have made short work of unselfish behavior.
  • Krauss shows us a portrait of a scientist who was unusually unselfish.
  • He is unbelievably talented, and best of all, unselfish.
  • Our unselfish service shall be to individuals, families, businesses and our entire community.
  • It was the result of true teamwork and unselfish play.
  • Frank exhibited enthusiasm and initiative, an unselfish sharing of his time and a consistent willingness to help.
  • It seems to us that these people represent the true unselfish spirit of science.
British Dictionary definitions for unselfish


not selfish or greedy; generous
Derived Forms
unselfishly, adverb
unselfishness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unselfish

1690s, from un- (1) "not" + selfish. Cf. Danish uselvisk, Swedish osjälfvisk. Related: Unselfishly; unselfishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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