self

noun
\ ˈself How to pronounce self (audio) , Southern also ˈsef\
plural selves\ ˈselvz How to pronounce selves (audio) , Southern also  ˈsevz \

Definition of self

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1a(1) : an individual's typical character or behavior her true self was revealed
(2) : an individual's temporary behavior or character his better self
b : a person in prime condition feel like my old self today
2 : the union of elements (such as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person
3 : personal interest or advantage
4a : the entire person of an individual
b : the realization or embodiment of an abstraction
5 : material that is part of an individual organism ability of the immune system to distinguish self from nonself

self

pronoun

Definition of self (Entry 2 of 5)

: myself, himself, herself a check payable to self

self

adjective

Definition of self (Entry 3 of 5)

1a : having a single character or quality throughout specifically : having one color only a self flower
b : of the same kind (as in color, material, or pattern) as something with which it is used self trimming
2 obsolete : identical, same
3 obsolete : belonging to oneself : own

self

verb
selfed; selfing; selfs

Definition of self (Entry 4 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : inbreed
2 : to pollinate with pollen from the same flower or plant

intransitive verb

: to undergo self-pollination

Definition of self- (Entry 5 of 5)

1a : oneself or itself self-supporting
b : of oneself or itself self-abasement
c : by oneself or itself self-propelled self-acting
2a : to, with, for, or toward oneself or itself self-consistent self-addressed self-love
b : of or in oneself or itself inherently self-evident
c : from or by means of oneself or itself self-fertile

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Examples of self in a Sentence

Noun

She showed her better self at the party. Her public self is very different from her private self. Philosophers have written about the conception of the self.

Adjective

a self-red rose of a shade that hasn't been seen before
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Relationships, especially the good ones, aren’t about being completely self-sufficient. Esme Mazzeo, Glamour, "To Convince Dates My Wheelchair Isn't A Burden, I First Had to Convince Myself," 16 May 2019 Among the amenities are a 24-hour market in the lobby selling white noise machines and snacks; self-service check-in kiosks; digital interfaces in rooms for making requests; and use of the meditation app Headspace. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Atelier Ace's New New York City Hotel Wants to Help You Clear Your Head," 14 May 2019 Breanna Yde as Gina Breanna plays Gina, a tough and self-assured athlete. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Everything You Need To Know About Netflix's "Malibu Rescue" Movie and Series," 9 May 2019 Beldini adds that self-massage also helps increase blood flow in the area, which may help repair damaged tissue quicker. Emilia Benton, SELF, "How I Treated My Plantar Fasciitis in Time to Run My Best Marathon Yet," 8 May 2019 Olivia Blu—a self-proclaimed soul singer—was the only one who would have been sent home, had the coach not saved her. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Why Did the Top 24 Eliminations on 'The Voice' Cause So Much Controversy?," 1 May 2019 Overseen by the Washington Supreme Court, the bar association is a self-regulating agency of legal professionals that derives its funding through mandatory fees of $453 per year paid by each of its roughly 40,000 members. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Amid turmoil, judge rules Washington State Bar Association must disclose correspondence that explains director’s firing," 14 Apr. 2019 Staying healthy isn’t just about working out and investing in self care. Jessica Booth, Redbook, "Everything You Need To Know About Food Deserts," 29 Apr. 2019 Many of these women left the traditional workforce after having their kids and are cobbling together a new entrepreneurial career alongside a new sense of self. Lauren Smith Brody, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Invisible Nannies of Instagram," 17 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'self.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of self

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

Pronoun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1905, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for self

Pronoun

Middle English (intensive pronoun), from Old English; akin to Old High German selb, intensive pronoun, and probably to Latin suus one's own — more at suicide

Combining form

Middle English, from Old English, from self

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Statistics for self

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for self

The first known use of self was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for self

self

noun

English Language Learners Definition of self

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the person that someone normally or truly is
: a particular part of your personality or character that is shown in a particular situation
: the personality or character that makes a person different from other people : the combination of emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc., that make a person different from others

English Language Learners Definition of self- (Entry 2 of 2)

: yourself or itself
: of yourself or itself
: by, to, with, for, or toward yourself or itself

self

noun
\ ˈself How to pronounce self (audio) \
plural selves\ ˈselvz \

Kids Definition of self

1 : a person regarded as an individual apart from everyone else
2 : a special side of a person's character He isn't his cheerful self today.

self-

prefix

Kids Definition of self-

1 : someone's or something's self self-governing
2 : of or by someone's or something's self self-control
3 : to, with, for, or toward someone's or something's self self-respect

self

noun
\ ˈself How to pronounce self (audio) \
plural selves\ ˈselvz How to pronounce selves (audio) \

Medical Definition of self

1 : the union of elements (as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person
2 : material that is part of an individual organism ability of the immune system to distinguish self from nonself

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More from Merriam-Webster on self

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with self

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for self

Spanish Central: Translation of self

Nglish: Translation of self for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of self for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about self

Comments on self

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