self-ref·​er·​ence | \ ˌself-ˈre-fərn(t)s How to pronounce self-reference (audio) , -ˈre-f(ə-)rən(t)s\
plural self-references

Definition of self-reference

: 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

Other Words from self-reference

self-referential \ ˌself-​ˌre-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​shəl How to pronounce self-referential (audio) \ 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 \ ˌself-​ˌre-​fə-​ˌren(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce self-referentiality (audio) \ noun
… the pretentious and tiresome self-referentiality (as in "Author here. Meaning the real author …" — Stephen Marche

First Known Use of self-reference

1818, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about self-reference

Statistics for self-reference

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for self-reference

The first known use of self-reference was in 1818

See more words from the same year

Comments on self-reference

What made you want to look up self-reference? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!