ˈself-ˈhelp How to pronounce self-help (audio)
 Southern also  ˈhep
: the action or process of bettering oneself or overcoming one's problems without the aid of others
especially : the coping with one's personal or emotional problems without professional help
self-help adjective

Examples of self-help in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sessions will dig deeper than any self-help book could, guiding clients through the immersion into their barriers and the search for optimal solutions. Svetlana Khachiyan, USA TODAY, 2 Sep. 2023 In fact, your path forward may be in letting go of doing so much self-help and actually sitting with what’s going wrong. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Sep. 2023 The self-help expert’s guide to building good habits and breaking bad ones via tiny changes in behavior. The California Independent Booksellers Alliance, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 Meant to be a self-help book, Payton wants to help her readers step out of their comfort zones and into their power, starting with sharing her own experiences with self-doubt, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, infertility, and postpartum depression. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 25 Aug. 2023 White House hopefuls, self-help author Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have both pushed the Democratic National Committee to host primary debates. Eden Villalovas, Washington Examiner, 24 Aug. 2023 In opposing parole, prosecutors argued Gers had not shown remorse or completed any self-help programming while incarcerated and the parole board also heard statements from the two victims. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Aug. 2023 Beyond the hyperbole common when neuroscience crosses over into self-help is the popularization of theories that have already been disproved. Kristen Martin, Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2023 Artists of the self-help group Mouth & Foot Painting Artists create lovely cards and notecards made from recycled paper. Neeti Mehra, Treehugger, 8 Aug. 2023 See More

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

1628, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-help was in 1628

Dictionary Entries Near self-help

Cite this Entry

“Self-help.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the act of bettering oneself or overcoming one's problems without aid of others

Legal Definition


: the act of redressing or preventing a wrong by one's own actions rather than through legal proceedings

Note: The Uniform Commercial Code permits creditors to repossess collateral by self-help if it can be done without a breach of the peace.

More from Merriam-Webster on self-help

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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