self-de·​ter·​mi·​na·​tion ˌself-di-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce self-determination (audio)
: free choice of one's own acts or states without external compulsion
: determination by the people of a territorial unit of their own future political status

Examples of self-determination in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The incredible story behind the life, and home, of one of California’s Latina pioneers Nov. 21, 2023 Advertisement Inspired by the Black Panthers, the group was a Puerto Rican revolution party fighting for neighborhood empowerment and the self-determination of Latinos. Andrea Flores, Los Angeles Times, 28 Nov. 2023 This gives professionals more self-worth and motivates them to strive toward independence and self-determination. Kurline J Altes, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 Gratitude tie-in: Gratitude exists on a parallel plane from this book, but its preoccupation with self-determination (as an alternative to peer pressure) offers a different, equally valuable lesson for parents looking to counterbalance messages of materialism during the holidays. Roxana Popescu, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2023 One such narrative ignores the history of nationalism and the national right to self-determination. Arash Azizi, The Atlantic, 15 Nov. 2023 Ending the conflict requires the transition to some formula, whether two states, one state, or some sort of confederation, in which Palestinians gain self-determination and are no longer the disenfranchised subjects of a hostile foreign power. Hussein Ibish, The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2023 Palestinians must be granted self-determination — control over the social, political, and economic resources that frame their own lives. Curbed, 20 Oct. 2023 The organization brands itself as a Shia resistance movement within Lebanon that believes in the country's right to self-determination, while also pledging its allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Matt Bradley, NBC News, 14 Oct. 2023 Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. Joe Morgan, Fox News, 12 Oct. 2023 See More

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

circa 1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-determination was circa 1670

Dictionary Entries Near self-determination

Cite this Entry

“Self-determination.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: free choice of one's own acts without outside pressure
: the deciding by the people of a place of the form of government they will have

More from Merriam-Webster on self-determination

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