self-mu·​ti·​la·​tion | \ ˌself-ˌmyü-tə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce self-mutilation (audio) \

Definition of self-mutilation

: the act of inflicting injury or disfigurement to one's own body The original wound reopened and became dangerously infected, and yet this classic display of canine self-mutilation continued.Dog Watch But there seem to be, nevertheless, very few cases of actual cowardice. Of these, the majority involve self-mutilation by conscripts, in an attempt to be invalided out of the Army.— Carey Schofield … a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the state to pay for the private care of a 19-year- old man suffering from a rare neurological disorder that prompts violent bouts of self-mutilation.— Claudia Puig specifically : the act of purposely hurting oneself (as by cutting or burning the skin) as an emotional coping mechanism : self-harm … the terrible incidence of self-mutilation, or cutting, particularly among young girls. — Judy Quinn

Other Words from self-mutilation

self-mutilate \ ˌself-​ˈmyü-​tə-​ˌlāt How to pronounce self-mutilation (audio) \ intransitive verb self-mutilated; self-mutilating; self-mutilates
self-mutilating behavior

First Known Use of self-mutilation

1637, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of self-mutilation was in 1637

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Cite this Entry

“Self-mutilation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of self-mutilation

medical : the act of wounding yourself on purpose especially because you are mentally ill


self-mu·​ti·​la·​tion | \ -ˌmyüt-ə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce self-mutilation (audio) \

Medical Definition of self-mutilation

: injury or disfigurement of oneself self-mutilation associated with the Lesch-Nyhan syndrome

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