self-ref·​er·​ence ˌself-ˈre-fərn(t)s How to pronounce self-reference (audio)
plural self-references
: the act or an instance of referring or alluding to oneself or itself
… their discourse can become dominated by words expressing confidence, like … self-reference that can favour the "royal we" over "I." Peter Garrard
The conventional wisdom was that sitcoms should hit the reset button every week, so as not to confuse or alienate nonregular viewers. But Seinfeld's obsessive self-references earned it the loyal audience that was key to its success … Daniel Bettridge
specifically : reference or allusion by a literary or artistic work to the mental attitudes and creative processes that brought it into existence
Such dumbly resistant objects might seem like arid exercises in postmodern self-reference—photographs about photography, as it were … Andrew Graham-Dixon
self-referential adjective
Also, Lady Gaga's self-referential comment about wardrobe came off way too hammy … Mike Ryan
There's a lot of silly fourth wall breaking, sarcasm and self-referential comedy … Patrick Doyle
self-referentiality noun
… the pretentious and tiresome self-referentiality (as in "Author here. Meaning the real author …") Stephen Marche

Word History

First Known Use

1818, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-reference was in 1818

Dictionary Entries Near self-reference

Cite this Entry

“Self-reference.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

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