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90s Slang You Should Know


[self-ri-lahy-uh ns, self-] /ˈsɛlf rɪˈlaɪ əns, ˌsɛlf-/
reliance on oneself or one's own powers, resources, etc.
Origin of self-reliance
First recorded in 1825-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for self-reliance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was the sternest school of self-reliance, from babyhood to the grave, that human society is ever likely to witness.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • No independence, no self-reliance, no strength of character is developed.

    Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde
  • Isolation fostered not only self-reliance but the habit of reflection, and, indeed, of prolonged and intense reflection.

  • Independence and self-reliance are the basis of self-respect and self-control.

    Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde
  • This feeling of self-respect is something stronger than self-reliance, higher than pride.

    Our Deportment John H. Young
British Dictionary definitions for self-reliance


reliance on one's own abilities, decisions, etc
Derived Forms
self-reliant, adjective
self-reliantly, 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-reliance

1883, from self- + reliance. First recorded in J.S. Mill.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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self-reliance in Culture

“Self-Reliance” definition

(1841) An essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson that advises the reader to “Trust thyself” and argues that “whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” It is the source of several well-known epigrams, such as “To be great is to be misunderstood” and “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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