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

Examples of selfish in a Sentence

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 From that point until his death last week, Levin has often been portrayed as shortsighted, selfish, gullible, or all of the above—a leader who refused to listen to the better advice of his colleagues and should be held singularly responsible for the damage the merger caused. Dylan Sloan, Fortune, 26 Mar. 2024 Rather, psychologists say, spiritual narcissists distort religion and spirituality to cater to their own selfish interests, as well as to punish and abuse others. USA TODAY, 21 Mar. 2024 Despite the script’s prevalent lack of subtlety, telling us details and developments instead of showing through meaningful actions, there’s resonance in Michael’s nuanced turn from selfish to selfless via his newfound canine companionship. Courtney Howard, Variety, 13 Mar. 2024 That suits its otherworldly and somewhat formal tone, which takes viewers deep into Japan’s mythical past for a quartet of eerie tales about lonely ghosts and vengeful spirits who bring supernatural justice to selfish and immoral humans. Katie Rife, EW.com, 12 Mar. 2024 But her relatives had a selfish motive: to prepare their blue-blooded daughters for life at Russian court, where they would be expected to not only serve as their family’s representatives but also use their cleverness to increase the family’s prestige. E.r. Zarevich, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Mar. 2024 Never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. Andrew Blankstein, NBC News, 11 Mar. 2024 Liberatory movements are never so shallow as to be guided by the lazy dismissals from selfish detractors, and the Palestinian liberation movement is no exception. Talia Jane, Rolling Stone, 29 Feb. 2024 James Crumbley's wife, Jennifer, was convicted on Feb. 6 following a two-week trial that portrayed her as a selfish and philandering mother who spent more time on her horse hobby than with her son, ignored the teen’s mental health needs and supported his obsession with guns. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'selfish.' 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 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 15 Apr. 2024.

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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