self·​hood | \ ˈself-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce selfhood (audio) \

Definition of selfhood

2 : the quality or state of being selfish

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of selfhood in a Sentence

he spent a year in a monastery determining the core of his selfhood
Recent Examples on the Web By forcing Stephens to divorce her gender identity from her work at the funeral home, or Bostock to separate his gayness (and his softball participation) from his advocacy, their employers were fracturing their selfhood. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "The Three People at the Center of the Landmark Supreme Court Decision," 16 June 2020 In her second novel, the author uses a familiar genre to explore startling visions of selfhood. Sarah Resnick, The New Yorker, "Brit Bennett Reimagines the Literature of Passing," 15 June 2020 The painting renders both the ongoing infinity-mirror feeling of developing selfhood and the strangely enfolded experience of caretaking and children’s cultures. Sarah Blackwood, The New Yorker, "The Uncanny Domestic Spaces of Becky Suss," 3 Mar. 2020 Rooting out the cause took years of detective work—and forced his family to confront the trickiest questions of selfhood. Sandra Upson, Wired, "The Devastating Decline of a Brilliant Young Coder," 15 Apr. 2020 Not least, the idea of the soul is bound up with our search for identity or selfhood. TheWeek, "What is the soul if not a better version of ourselves?," 28 Mar. 2020 Higginbotham’s descent into a black hole that erases the most basic outlines of selfhood is mirrored here by stealthy, perception-warping stagecraft. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘Dana H.’ Maps a Harrowing Journey Into Hell," 25 Feb. 2020 Sadism, as it is depicted by Sade, is also, and perhaps primarily, the creation of a world in which the powerful and wealthy are able to lure the poor and powerless, hold them captive, and reduce their bodies and selfhoods to nothing. Mitchell Abidor, The New York Review of Books, "Reading Sade in the Age of Epstein," 12 Feb. 2020 But treat your hair with love, and develop and blossom in your own sense of selfhood; that's the most important journey. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Tracee Ellis Ross Chronicles Her Complicated Curl Journey," 6 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'selfhood.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of selfhood

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about selfhood

Time Traveler for selfhood

Time Traveler

The first known use of selfhood was in 1568

See more words from the same year

Statistics for selfhood

Last Updated

16 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Selfhood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for selfhood


How to pronounce selfhood (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of selfhood

: the quality that makes a person or thing different from others

More from Merriam-Webster on selfhood

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for selfhood

Nglish: Translation of selfhood for Spanish Speakers

Comments on selfhood

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!