What is the difference between the adjectives
- y altruista
The latter obviously is connected to altruism, the first to deny and the seconds ha interesting in it. But how are they used?
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Abnegación: Sacrificio que alguien hace de su voluntad, de sus afectos o de sus intereses, generalmente por motivos religiosos o por altruismo.
Desinterés: Desapego y desprendimiento de todo provecho personal, próximo o remoto.
Altruismo: Diligencia en procurar el bien ajeno aun a costa del propio
Honestly, the most common one is "desinterés".
"Interest" in Spanish doesn't carry quite the same overtones as it does in English. I'm going to call your attention to the dictionary definition of the English word "disinterested" (not "uninterested")
Note that the principal meaning has to do with "unbiased" or "free from personal gain". The second meaning is more like "uninterested", which is listed as a synonym. Also, note the comment on the tangled history of "disinterested" and "uninterested". The words didn't always mean what they mean today.
Back to Spanish.
"Desinteresado" correlates almost completely with the meaning of "disinterested" as "unbiased" or "free from personal gain". A Spanish speaker won't think you are saying "uninterested".