self-de·​ni·​al ˌself-di-ˈnī(-ə)l How to pronounce self-denial (audio)
: a restraint or limitation of one's own desires or interests

Examples of self-denial in a Sentence

dieting is an endless exercise in self-denial self-indulgent even when she was poor, she wasn't about to practice self-denial after getting rich
Recent Examples on the Web Loneliness gets to the heart of the spiritual dissatisfaction and self-denial seen post-Covid and in both the pro-Hamas and pro–George Floyd rioting. Armond White, National Review, 10 May 2024 Crace transports readers 2,000 years into the past to a stark Biblical landscape full of visceral encounters, violence, self-denial, and possible miracles. Mia Barzilay Freund, Vogue, 29 Mar. 2024 The last week of January in particular would be an excellent time to decamp somewhere pretty, travel for pleasure, or do some spiritual seeking (but maybe the kind that comes with laughter and good food, and not strict rules and self-denial). Steph Koyfman, Condé Nast Traveler, 27 Dec. 2023 Shocking self-indulgence sits cheek by jowl with self-denial. Tobi Haslett, Harper's Magazine, 18 Sep. 2023 That an ancient philosophy based on self-denial could find an audience among TikTokers, subredditors, and gladiatorial millionaires suggested two possibilities: Stoicism either had quite a lot going for it, or nothing at all. Tom Bissell, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-denial.' 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

1605, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-denial was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near self-denial

Cite this Entry

“Self-denial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the refusal to satisfy one's own desires

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