Definition of UNSELFISH


Unselfish is an adjective describing a behavior, action, or attitude characterized by altruism, selflessness, or consideration for others’ needs, interests, or well-being. It involves prioritizing the welfare, happiness, or benefit of others without seeking personal gain or recognition.

Altruistic Actions: Unselfish actions involve putting the needs, interests, or happiness of others before one’s own. This may manifest in acts of kindness, generosity, or sacrifice aimed at benefiting others, whether it’s helping someone in need, supporting a friend, or contributing to a cause without expecting anything in return.

Consideration for Others: Being unselfish entails considering the perspectives, feelings, and needs of others in decision-making processes or interactions. It involves empathy, compassion, and a willingness to listen, support, or accommodate others, even if it means making personal sacrifices or compromises.

Selfless Attitude: An unselfish attitude is characterized by a lack of selfishness, egoism, or self-centeredness. It involves prioritizing the greater good, collective welfare, or common interests over individual desires, ambitions, or preferences, fostering cooperation, harmony, and mutual respect in relationships and communities.

Benefiting Others Without Expectation: Acting unselfishly means seeking to benefit others without expecting anything in return, such as recognition, reward, or reciprocity. It involves genuine acts of kindness, service, or support motivated by a desire to alleviate suffering, promote happiness, or enhance the well-being of others.

Putting Others First: Being unselfish often entails putting the needs or interests of others first, even if it requires personal sacrifice or inconvenience. This may involve prioritizing the happiness, success, or comfort of loved ones, colleagues, or strangers over one’s own desires or ambitions.

Promoting Harmony and Cooperation: Unselfish behavior fosters harmony, cooperation, and mutual support in relationships, groups, or communities by promoting trust, empathy, and reciprocity. It cultivates a culture of generosity, compassion, and shared responsibility, leading to stronger social bonds and collective resilience.

In conclusion, unselfish as an adjective describes behaviors, actions, or attitudes characterized by altruism, selflessness, and consideration for others’ needs, interests, or well-being. Whether it’s altruistic actions, consideration for others, selfless attitudes, benefiting others without expectation, putting others first, or promoting harmony and cooperation, being unselfish contributes to a more compassionate, empathetic, and interconnected society.

Examples of UNSELFISH in a sentence

  • Her unselfish actions spoke volumes about her character, always putting others’ needs before her own.
  • He admired her unselfish dedication to charity work, volunteering countless hours to help those in need.
  • The team’s success was due in large part to their unselfish cooperation and support for one another.
  • Despite facing adversity, she remained unselfish, always willing to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.
  • The organization praised his unselfish generosity in donating a significant portion of his wealth to humanitarian causes.
  • The coach emphasized the importance of unselfish play on the basketball court, stressing teamwork over individual glory.
  • Her unselfish decision to share credit with her colleagues earned her respect and admiration from her peers.
  • The community benefited greatly from the unselfish contributions of volunteers who dedicated their time to improving the lives of others.


The term unselfish has its linguistic origins rooted in Old English, reflecting the historical evolution of language to describe someone who is not selfish or concerned only with their own interests. Its etymology unveils a concept of altruism and concern for others.

  • Etymology and Origins: The term unselfish is a compound word formed by combining “un-” (meaning “not”) with “selfish.” “Selfish” is derived from the Old English word “self,” which refers to one’s own person or individuality, and the suffix “-ish,” which denotes “having the character of.” In Old English, “selfish” described someone who was preoccupied with their own interests to the exclusion of others. The addition of the prefix “un-” negates this quality, resulting in unselfish meaning not characterized by selfishness or self-centeredness.
  • Historical Context: Throughout history, individuals and societies have valued altruism, generosity, and compassion as virtues, often contrasting with selfishness, greed, and egotism. In various social and cultural contexts, unselfishness may be regarded as a noble trait, reflecting empathy, kindness, and consideration for others. Unselfish behavior may manifest in acts of charity, sacrifice, or service, where individuals prioritize the welfare and happiness of others over their own interests.
  • Contemporary Significance: In contemporary contexts, unselfish describes someone who is characterized by a willingness to consider and prioritize the needs and interests of others over their own. It may refer to individuals who demonstrate generosity, empathy, and compassion in their actions and interactions, seeking to contribute to the well-being and happiness of others. Unselfishness is valued in personal relationships, professional environments, and societal interactions for its role in fostering cooperation, harmony, and social cohesion.

The term unselfish underscores the significance of altruism and concern for others in human behavior and relationships, tracing its etymological roots from Old English to its present-day significance as a descriptor for someone who is not selfish or concerned only with their own interests.


  • Selfless
  • Altruistic
  • Generous
  • Benevolent
  • Considerate
  • Compassionate
  • Thoughtful
  • Giving


  • Selfish
  • Self-centered
  • Egotistical
  • Greedy
  • Stingy
  • Self-serving
  • Inconsiderate
  • Selfish


  • Selflessness
  • Altruism
  • Generosity
  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Philanthropy
  • Sacrifice

🌐 🇬🇧 UNSELFISH in other languages

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