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[self-di-nahy-uh l, self-] /ˈsɛlf dɪˈnaɪ əl, ˌsɛlf-/
the sacrifice of one's own desires; unselfishness.
an act or instance of restraining or curbing one's desires:
To reduce, one has to practice self-denial at the dinner table.
Origin of self-denial
First recorded in 1635-45
Related forms
self-denying, adjective
self-denyingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for self-denial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This self-denial is the test and definition of self-government.

    Alarms and Discursions G. K. Chesterton
  • I lay no claim to the distinction, and have the self-denial to reject it.'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • At the root of all lies the fear of the self-denial and the sacrifice which will be needed.

  • He has never known any hardships or been forced into any self-denial.

    Great Uncle Hoot-Toot

    Mrs. Molesworth
  • A self-denial no less austere than the saint's is demanded of the scholar.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • self-denial is all very well as a means of strengthening the character.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • The self-denial represented by these orders was not a little.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • No self-denial on his part was too great, if he could please me.

    Keziah Coffin Joseph C. Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for self-denial


the denial or sacrifice of one's own desires
Derived Forms
self-denying, adjective
self-denyingly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for self-denial

1640s, from self- + denial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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