Money paid regularly at a particular rate for the use of money lent, or for delaying the repayment of a debt.
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Late Middle English (originally as interess): from Anglo-Norman French interesse, from Latin interesse ‘differ, be important’, from inter- ‘between’ + esse ‘be’. The -t was added partly by association with Old French interest ‘damage, loss’, apparently from Latin interest ‘it is important’. The original sense was ‘the possession of a share in or a right to something’; hence interest (sense 4 of the noun). interest (sense 1 of the noun) and the verb arose in the 18th century interest (sense 2 of the noun) was influenced by medieval Latin interesse ‘compensation for a debtor's defaulting’.
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