self-gov·​ern·​ment ˌself-ˈgə-vər(n)-mənt How to pronounce self-government (audio)
: government under the control and direction of the inhabitants of a political unit rather than by an outside authority
broadly : control of one's own affairs

Examples of self-government in a Sentence

self-government implies faith in the wisdom and essential goodness of the people steely self-government was all that kept her from lashing out at the rude customer championed self-government for the nation's indigenous peoples
Recent Examples on the Web Agencies are but creatures of law, and law is but a creature of the sovereign people’s right to self-government — a government of laws, and not of men. The Editors, National Review, 28 June 2024 And thanks to structural concepts like federalism, differences of opinion on matters of fundamental importance such as equality are not only encouraged but essential to popular self-government. Robert L. Tsai / Made By History, TIME, 28 June 2024 Sliding downhill Whether shining as a beacon or conquering and preaching as a crusader, U.S. leaders largely agreed that America’s self-government — its democracy — was exceptional. Andreas Kluth, The Mercury News, 25 June 2024 The United States, however, has lost its capacity for self-government through stupendous intellectual indolence and the exaltation of puerilities, like Tayor Swift or Tom Brady, over thinkers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, and Montaigne. Armstrong Williams, Baltimore Sun, 23 June 2024 Lincoln warned us that self-righteousness is an acute problem for self-government. Janice Rogers Brown, National Review, 22 June 2024 But whatever returns in November, the return of civic hope—and with it, the future of our democracy—depends on the return of the citizen: the conceptual and practical restoration of everyday Americans to the center of self-government. Trygve Throntveit and Harry Boyte, TIME, 13 June 2024 In our political system, all good government begins with self-government. Marian Fry, Baltimore Sun, 11 May 2024 With the same two candidates primed for a 2024 rematch, historians, political experts, Democrats and even some Republicans who left office because of Trump are raising alarm about what this expanding circle of potential election denialism means for the future of self-government in America. Sarah D. Wire, USA TODAY, 15 May 2024

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

1622, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-government was in 1622

Dictionary Entries Near self-government

Cite this Entry

“Self-government.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: control over one's own actions : self-control
: government by action of the people making up a community
especially : democratic government

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