nonself

noun

non·​self ˌnän-ˈself How to pronounce nonself (audio)
 Southern also  -ˈsef
: material that is foreign to the body of an organism

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Here was a question of biology that even a poet or philosopher could love: How does the body distinguish between self and nonself, I and Thou? Dan Hurley, Discover Magazine, 19 Aug. 2010 That is why the roaming T and B cells of the immune system can go after invading microbes (nonself) while leaving its own cells and organs (self) intact. Dan Hurley, Discover Magazine, 19 Aug. 2010 Immunology—her academic specialty—hinges on an essentially military metaphor of distinction between self and nonself: The immune system protects the homeland by destroying invaders. Gabriel Winant, The New Republic, 23 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonself.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonself was in 1959

Dictionary Entries Near nonself

Cite this Entry

“Nonself.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nonself. Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Medical Definition

nonself

noun
non·​self ˈnän-ˈself How to pronounce nonself (audio)
: material that is foreign to the body of an organism
nonself adjective
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