[ ahr-selvz, ouuh r-, ou-er- ]
/ ɑrˈsɛlvz, aʊər-, ˌaʊ ər- /

plural pronoun

a reflexive form of we (used as the direct or indirect object of a verb or the direct object of a preposition): We are deceiving ourselves. Give us a moment to ourselves.
(used as an intensive with we): We ourselves would never say such a thing.
Informal. (used in place of we or us, especially in compound subjects, objects, and complements): The children and ourselves thank you kindly. When it satisfies ourselves, it will be ready to market. The ones who really want the new system are the manager and ourselves.
(used in place of we or us after as, than, or but): How many parents are as fortunate as ourselves? No one loves skiing more than ourselves. Nobody heard it but ourselves.
our customary, normal, or healthy selves: After a good rest, we're almost ourselves again.

Words nearby ourselves

Origin of ourselves

1300–50; Middle English oure selven; see our, self, -en4, -s3

usage note for ourselves

See myself.

Definition for ourselves (2 of 2)

[ mahy-self ]
/ maɪˈsɛlf /

pronoun, plural our·selves [ahr-selvz, ouuh r-, ou-er-] /ɑrˈsɛlvz, aʊər-, ˌaʊ ər-/.

(used as an intensive of me or I): I myself will challenge the winner.
(used reflexively in place of me as the object of a preposition or as the direct or indirect object of a verb): I gave myself a good rubdown. She asked me for a picture of myself.
Informal. (used in place of I or me, especially in compound subjects, objects, and complements): My wife and myself fully agree. She wanted John and myself to take charge. The originators of the plan were my partner and myself.
(used in place of I or me after as, than, or but): He knows as much about the matter as myself.
my normal or customary self: After a few days of rest, I expect to be myself again.

Origin of myself

before 900; my + self; replacing Middle English meself, Old English mē selfum (dative)

usage note for myself

There is no disagreement over the use of myself and other -self forms when they are used intensively ( I myself cannot agree ) or reflexively ( He introduced himself proudly ). Questions are raised, however, when the -self forms are used instead of the personal pronouns ( I, me, etc.) as subjects, objects, or complements.
Myself occurs only rarely as a single subject in place of I: Myself was the one who called. The recorded instances of such use are mainly poetic or literary. It is also uncommon as a simple object in place of me : Since the letter was addressed to myself, I opened it. As part of a compound subject, object, or complement, myself and to a lesser extent the other -self forms are common in informal speech and personal writing, somewhat less common in more formal speech and writing: The manager and myself completed the arrangements. Many came to welcome my husband and myself back to Washington.
Myself and other -self forms are also used, alone or with other nouns or pronouns, in constructions after as, than, or but in all varieties of speech and writing: The captain has far more experience than myself in such matters. Orders have arrived for everyone but the orderlies and yourself.
There is ample precedent, going as far back as Chaucer and running through the whole range of British and American literature and other serious formal writing, for all these uses. Many usage guides, however, state that to use myself in any construction in which I or me could be used instead (as My daughter and myself play the flute instead of My daughter and I, or a gift for my husband and myself instead of for my husband and me ) is characteristic only of informal speech and that such use ought not to occur in writing. See also me.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for ourselves

British Dictionary definitions for ourselves (1 of 2)

/ (aʊəˈsɛlvz) /


  1. the reflexive form of we or us
  2. (intensifier)we ourselves will finish it
(preceded by a copula) our usual selveswe are ourselves when we're together
not standard used instead of we or us in compound noun phrasesother people and ourselves

British Dictionary definitions for ourselves (2 of 2)

/ (maɪˈsɛlf) /


  1. the reflexive form of I or me
  2. (intensifier)I myself know of no answer
(preceded by a copula) my usual selfI'm not myself today
not standard used instead of I or me in compound noun phrasesJohn and myself are voting together
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