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

The spa felt like a girls den and a safe space for self-love. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "I Got a Vagina Facial, and Honestly Loved It," 28 Feb. 2019 Getting glammed up for a significant other on Valentine's Day can be fun, but the hearts-and-flowers holiday is also a time to celebrate self-love. Talia Abbas, SELF, "19 Valentine’s Day Lingerie Looks You Should Wear This Feb. 14 Because You Love Your Damn Self," 6 Feb. 2019 Many fans were extremely here for Ari's most recent declaration of self love. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Is Dating Herself All Year Long," 2 Jan. 2019 Order a self-driving pizza and ready yourself to spend the last weekend of 2018 diving down pop culture’s darkest rabbit hole. Aja Romano, Vox, "The Black Mirror: Bandersnatch trailer promises a choose-your-own-nightmare," 27 Dec. 2018 Waymo Waymo’s self-driving car unit officially launched the first commercial driverless taxi service in a roughly 100-mile zone across four Phoenix suburbs. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Going for a ride in Waymo’s just-launched driverless taxi service," 6 Dec. 2018 Accepting her self-invitation was quite a departure for Casey, who describes himself as slow-moving and deliberate. Brooke Porter Katz, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ellen Bennett & Casey Caplowe's Wedding Was Outside-The-Box in Every Way," 14 Feb. 2019 Note to self: Salty, beach hair is definitely a vibe. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Shares Her Date Night Beauty Routine and Top Hair Coloring Tips," 14 Feb. 2019 The self-priming formula couldn't be easier to use: paint two coats on top of existing paint, drywall or masonry, and let dry. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About Textured Wall Finishes," 7 Feb. 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

11 Mar 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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