self

1 of 5

noun

ˈself How to pronounce self (audio)
 Southern also  ˈsef
plural selves ˈselvz How to pronounce self (audio)
 Southern also  ˈsevz
1
a(1)
: an individual's typical character or behavior
her true self was revealed
(2)
: an individual's temporary behavior or character
his better self
b
: a person in prime condition
feel like my old self today
2
: the union of elements (such as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person
3
: personal interest or advantage
4
a
: the entire person of an individual
b
: the realization or embodiment of an abstraction
5
: material that is part of an individual organism
ability of the immune system to distinguish self from nonself

self

2 of 5

pronoun

: myself, himself, herself
a check payable to self

self

3 of 5

adjective

1
a
: having a single character or quality throughout
specifically : having one color only
a self flower
b
: of the same kind (as in color, material, or pattern) as something with which it is used
self trimming
2
obsolete : identical, same
3
obsolete : belonging to oneself : own

self

4 of 5

verb

selfed; selfing; selfs

transitive verb

1
2
: to pollinate with pollen from the same flower or plant

intransitive verb

: to undergo self-pollination

self-

5 of 5

combining form

1
a
: oneself or itself
self-supporting
b
: of oneself or itself
self-abasement
c
: by oneself or itself
self-propelled
self-acting
2
a
: to, with, for, or toward oneself or itself
self-consistent
self-addressed
self-love
b
: of or in oneself or itself inherently
self-evident
c
: from or by means of oneself or itself
self-fertile

Example Sentences

Noun She showed her better self at the party. Her public self is very different from her private self. Philosophers have written about the conception of the self. Adjective a self-red rose of a shade that hasn't been seen before
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Read ahead on how Chloe and Halle tackle travel with confidence and practice self-care on-the-go with their all-time favorite beauty essentials. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2022 Walmart’s Black Friday Deals for Days is already underway in stores and online, shoppers can save up to 30% off tech, self-care and fitness gear; 35% off home goods and kitchenware; 40% off toys and 50% off fashion. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Nov. 2022 Inner Workout is that self-care requires a support system. Kasandra Brabaw, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2022 Though Gabbard’s endorsements have largely failed, her efforts are paying dividends for her own self-interest. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 15 Nov. 2022 Give your tree the spa treatment with these adorable animals who believe in self-care. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, 15 Nov. 2022 Time to check off some of the friends and family on your extensive holiday shopping list — or indulge in some self-care goodies for yourself. Sarah Han, Allure, 14 Nov. 2022 To better deal with the colder months, doctors recommend general self-care strategies including exercise, eating nourishing foods and spending time outdoors. Alina Dizik, WSJ, 14 Nov. 2022 But for me, quitting Twitter was an act of power and self-care. Richard Galant, CNN, 13 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Pronoun

Middle English (intensive pronoun), from Old English; akin to Old High German selb, intensive pronoun, and probably to Latin suus one's own — more at suicide

Combining form

Middle English, from Old English, from self

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

Pronoun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1905, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of self was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near self

Cite this Entry

“Self.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

self 1 of 3

pronoun

ˈself How to pronounce self (audio)
 Southern also  ˈsef
: myself sense 1, himself, herself
check that can be paid to self
a room for self, son, and daughter

self

2 of 3

noun

ˈself
plural selves
ˈselvz,
 Southern also  ˈsevz
1
: a person thought of as an individual apart from everyone else
2
: a particular side of a person's disposition
your better self
3
: personal interest
without thought of self

self-

3 of 3

combining form

1
a
: oneself or itself
self-pitying
b
: of oneself or itself
self-destructive
self-sacrifice
c
: by oneself or itself
self-made
self-propelled
2
a
: to, with, for, or toward oneself or itself
self-addressed
b
: of or in oneself or itself
self-evident
c
: from or by means of oneself or itself
self-fertile

Medical Definition

self

noun

plural selves ˈselvz How to pronounce self (audio)
1
: the union of elements (as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person
2
: material that is part of an individual organism
ability of the immune system to distinguish self from nonself

More from Merriam-Webster on self

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