Friday, August 06, 2004


Page 4 of Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee:

(Calling sweetly)
How-ard! (HOWARD, annoyed, turns and looks toward the voice. MELINDA, a healthy, pig-tailed girl of twelve, skips on.) Hello, Howard.
(HOWARD is disinterested, continues to search the ground.)
I realize that most dictionaries now accept disinterested as a synonym for uninterested (and indeed there is historical precedent for it), but it is still disapproved of by most prescriptive dictionaries, who maintain that the word means "unbiased."

I was surprised to find this usage in a 1955 edition of the play. I had thought that the shift in meaning was a fairly recent development.