self-em·​ployed ˌself-im-ˈplȯid How to pronounce self-employed (audio)
: earning income directly from one's own business, trade, or profession rather than as a specified salary or wages from an employer
self-employed noun

Examples of self-employed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Burch Mixon is now self-employed as a garden designer, working with residential clients. Charlotte Observer, 1 Feb. 2024 In another change, disaster survivors who are self-employed and whose tools are lost or damaged would be able to get money to replace that equipment. Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, 19 Jan. 2024 The rule revives an Obama-era test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor who is self-employed under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Lauren Kaori Gurley, Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2024 His wife was recently told she’s being laid off, an economic blow that other reservists, especially those who are self-employed, are well acquainted with. Neri Zilber, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Jan. 2024 South Carolina · · · South Dakota · · · Tennessee · · · Texas · · · Utah · · · Vermont In 2023 available to government employees; in 2024 expands to include private employees with two or more employees (voluntary); in 2025 expands to small employers and self-employed. Acacia O'Connor, Parents, 3 Jan. 2024 The government will also expand tax breaks for business investment and reduce taxes for the self-employed, Mr. Hunt said. Eshe Nelson, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Lindner leads Germany’s economically liberal junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats, whose core voting block are small business owners and self-employed likely most concerned about the potential risk of a four-day work week to their competitiveness. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune Europe, 6 Nov. 2023 Stay informed about new programs and benefits: Nineteen states and counting have introduced new programs to make saving easier for workers and the self-employed who don’t have access to a workplace retirement plan. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 27 Sep. 2023 See More

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

1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-employed was in 1916

Dictionary Entries Near self-employed

Cite this Entry

“Self-employed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: earning income from one's own business or profession rather than salary or wages from an employer

More from Merriam-Webster on self-employed

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!