self-flag·​el·​la·​tion ˌself-ˌfla-jə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce self-flagellation (audio)
: extreme criticism of oneself
self-flagellate verb

Examples of self-flagellation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The goal is self-improvement, not self-flagellation. Jason O'Bryan, Robb Report, 30 Sep. 2023 When his mother uses the incorrect pronouns, her dramatic self-flagellation reorients the situation so Sam must comfort her. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 The default demeanor that accompanies Murray’s grueling physical play has always looked something like misery, peppered with a near-constant verbal self-flagellation that pulls spectators into his battle. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 2 July 2023 The church’s new attention to its complex past is not an exercise in self-flagellation, Waters said, but rather an acknowledgment that its story — and Boston’s, too — are more layered and fraught than many people realize. Brian MacQuarrie,, 18 June 2023 With Swift neglecting to deliver the performative self-flagellation fans were asking for, some of them took matters into their own hands. Vulture, 3 June 2023 The Santuario was built by Don Bernardo Abeyta, a member of the Penitente Brothers, a Catholic lay order once known for extreme acts of penance including self-flagellation. David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2023 They were morbidly preoccupied by willed starvation, rags, straw beds, self-flagellation. Cynthia Ozick, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023 Church leaders in the Philippines have frowned on the crucifixions and self-flagellations, saying Filipinos can show their deep faith and religious devotion without hurting themselves and by doing charity work instead, such as donating blood. Jim Gomez, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2023 See More

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

1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-flagellation was in 1925

Dictionary Entries Near self-flagellation

Cite this Entry

“Self-flagellation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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