self·​ish·​ness ˈsel-fish-nəs How to pronounce selfishness (audio)
: the quality or state of being selfish : a concern for one's own welfare or advantage at the expense of or in disregard of others : excessive interest in oneself
We were appalled by the selfishness of their behavior.
Thus most of us are hardwired to conform to a "core morality" that includes protecting our children, dealing more or less fairly with other people, and placing limits on our selfishness.Christopher R. Beha

Examples of selfishness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web American Weekend still resonates in part because of its unvarnished frankness about selfishness, nihilism, and willful isolation from loved ones. Andy Cush, Pitchfork, 12 Mar. 2024 Its main purpose is not the creation of aesthetic beauty out of the materials at hand (life, pain) but selfishness: relieving the confessor’s desire to confess. Lauren Oyler, The New Yorker, 9 Mar. 2024 That said, Luna’s disagreement with perfectionist Venus may induce loneliness, carelessness, or even selfishness., Baltimore Sun, 30 Jan. 2024 This contrast has created a significant rift in our relationship, with my friend accusing me of selfishness. Harriette Cole, The Mercury News, 29 Mar. 2024 Even if Bartlett laces his finale with slightly on-the-nose observations — about the correlation between age and conservatism and the selfishness of boomers oblivious to their advantages — the details of Rose’s diatribe against her parents still sting with recognition. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2024 Liu’s novels make an argument that in a cold, indifferent universe, survival can require a hard heart; basing decisions on personal conscience can be a kind of selfishness and folly. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024 Mother-daughter narratives have as profuse a tradition, but with a key difference: In those stories, no matter how complex the interplay of competition and control and selfishness and sacrifice and ego, there’s the base line belief that a relationship is supposed to exist into adulthood. Mark Harris Keita Morimoto, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2024 Most Popular There is some degree of selfishness required in exiting dynamics that feel negative or one-sided or even just tedious. Carola Lovering, Vogue, 5 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'selfishness.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1628, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of selfishness was in 1628

Dictionary Entries Near selfishness

Cite this Entry

“Selfishness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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