self-in·​ven·​tion ˌself-in-ˈven-shən How to pronounce self-invention (audio)
plural self-inventions
: the act or an instance of inventing or creating one's identity or conception of oneself
her self-invention as a pop star
Bob Dylan has surpassed Walt Whitman as the defining American artist, celebrating the capacity for self-invention as the highest form of freedom.Cass R. Sunstein
… I've been poring online … over certain performances, interesting myself in those moments when [David] Bowie seems on the cusp of one of his celebrated self-inventionsBrian Dillon

Examples of self-invention in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Here, self-invention is an act of brutal violence with no discernable survivors. Chloe Schama, Vogue, 12 Jan. 2024 Paris is a battered place of freedom, self-invention, cigarettes, and deep talk that springs from dark-eyed experience. Bart Bull, SPIN, 20 June 2023 May, at first, is one of them, posing for (pre-smartphone) flashbulb photos and fully in tune with the theatrical self-invention that infuses the club. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2023

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

1914, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-invention was in 1914

Dictionary Entries Near self-invention

Cite this Entry

“Self-invention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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