selfish

adjective

self·​ish ˈsel-fish How to pronounce selfish (audio)
1
: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2
: arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others
a selfish act
3
: being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function
selfish DNA
also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication
selfish genes

Example Sentences

She's interested only in her own selfish concerns. I wish he'd spend less time with his friends and more time with me. Am I being selfish?
Recent Examples on the Web Nobody was selfish, nobody was malicious, nobody was anything. Chris Perkins, Sun Sentinel, 16 Jan. 2023 In the zeal for the glory of the team, for the glory of whoever or whatever folks root for, the real objective at hand gets swamped in the partisan swells, gets called selfish by those who are disappointed. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Dec. 2022 Many people neglect their own energy because of guilt or worry that caring for themselves appears selfish. Andrew Deutscher, Forbes, 16 Aug. 2022 The sense of emotions being out of scale also reminded me of my childhood, how my mother would call me selfish and worthless for wanting to watch TV instead of reading to my brother. Akhil Sharma, The New Yorker, 24 Jan. 2022 Being selfish doesn’t have to involve a lack of consideration for others. Tre’vell Anderson, Essence, 19 Dec. 2022 What could be more selfish, more gratifying, than the sensation of the right dress against your skin? Molly Fischer, The New Yorker, 27 Sep. 2022 He’s selfish, pessimistic and wants nothing to do with either side of the brewing conflict. Sydney Odman, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Nov. 2022 In the cultural consciousness, only children are frequently pegged as weirdos: maladjusted, selfish, spoiled, uncompromising, or just unusually precocious. Chiara Dello Joio, The Atlantic, 1 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of selfish was in 1628

Dictionary Entries Near selfish

Cite this Entry

“Selfish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfish. Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

selfish

adjective
self·​ish ˈsel-fish How to pronounce selfish (audio)
: taking care of oneself without thought for others
selfishly adverb
selfishness noun

Medical Definition

selfish

adjective
self·​ish ˈsel-fish How to pronounce selfish (audio)
: being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function
selfish DNA
also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication
selfish genes

More from Merriam-Webster on selfish

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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