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[self-prez-er-vey-shuh n, self-] /ˈsɛlfˌprɛz ərˈveɪ ʃən, ˌsɛlf-/
preservation of oneself from harm or destruction.
Origin of self-preservation
First recorded in 1605-15
Related forms
self-preserving, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for self-preserving
Historical Examples
  • After all, self-preservation is the first law, and Oscar is a self-preserving type.

    Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper
  • Prompted by a self-preserving instinct, this nationality deftly kept itself hid.

    The Brothers' War John Calvin Reed
  • Hunger is the most pressing desire of the egoistic or self-preserving impulse.

    Outwitting Our Nerves Josephine A. Jackson and Helen M. Salisbury
  • A cool, self-centred, self-preserving something in his mind had taught him to command all his own forces for one purpose.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • He was an average, self-preserving Caucasian, who was only merciless when his own life hung in the balance.

    The Rogue Elephant Elliott Whitney
  • In that moment Tito, with bloodless face and eyes dilated, had one of the self-preserving inspirations that come in extremity.

    Romola George Eliot
  • Every self-preserving instinct would have shrieked at such an infatuate immolation.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus American Anti-Slavery Society
  • Through all this bewilderment, self-preserving interest guides his course.

    Oswald Langdon Carson Jay Lee
  • The panther was slain, not from a view to the relief of my hunger, but from the self-preserving and involuntary impulse.

    Edgar Huntley Charles Brockden Brown
  • Pride is a deep-rooted and a self-preserving sin; and therefore harder to be killed and rooted up than other sins.

British Dictionary definitions for self-preserving


the preservation of oneself from danger or injury, esp as a basic instinct
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-preserving



1610s, from self- + preservation. First attested in Donne.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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