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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The contemplation of her pleasure gave me what some would call the most unselfish delight.

    The Record of Nicholas Freydon A. J. (Alec John) Dawson
  • He was genuinely in love, even unselfishly—as far as he could be unselfish.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Yet he was a brave, unselfish man and in all the years following that one Winter he lived cheerfully and nobly—a sunshiny life.

    The Price of the Prairie Margaret Hill McCarter
  • "What a noble and unselfish love yours has been," she murmured.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • We need not suppose him to have been unselfish beyond the fashion of his age.

    Raleigh Edmund Gosse
  • Steenie's unselfish solitude of soul made him every day dearer to her.

    Heather and Snow George MacDonald
  • We know that Thou art in man, for it is Thy spirit which quickens within him every pure thought and moves to every unselfish deed.

    The Optimist's Good Morning Florence Hobart Perin
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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