Origin of self

before 900; Middle English; Old English self, selfa; cognate with Dutch zelf, German selb-, Old Norse sjalfr, Gothic silba

self-

a combining form of self and variously used with the meanings “of the self” (self-analysis) and “by oneself or itself” (self-appointed); and with the meanings “to, with, toward, for, on, in oneself” (self-complacent), “inherent in oneself or itself” (self-explanatory), “independent” (self-government), and “automatic” (self-operating).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for self

self

noun plural selves (sɛlvz)

the distinct individuality or identity of a person or thing
a person's usual or typical bodily make-up or personal characteristicsshe looked her old self again
good self or good selves rare a polite way of referring to or addressing a person (or persons), used following your, his, her, or their
one's own welfare or interestshe only thinks of self
an individual's consciousness of his own identity or being
the self philosophy that which is essential to an individual, esp the mind or soul in Cartesian metaphysics; the ego
a bird, animal, etc, that is a single colour throughout, esp a self-coloured pigeon

pronoun

not standard myself, yourself, etcseats for self and wife

adjective

of the same colour or materiala dress with a self belt See also self-coloured
obsolete the same

Word Origin for self

Old English seolf; related to Old Norse sjālfr, Gothic silba, Old High German selb

self-

combining form

of oneself or itselfself-defence; self-rule
by, to, in, due to, for, or from the selfself-employed; self-inflicted; self-respect
automatic or automaticallyself-propelled
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

Word Origin and History for self
pron.

Old English self, seolf, sylf "one's own person, -self; own, same," from Proto-Germanic *selbaz (cf. Old Norse sjalfr, Old Frisian self, Dutch zelf, Old High German selb, German selb, selbst, Gothic silba), Proto-Germanic *selbaz "self," from PIE *sel-bho-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (see idiom).

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. [Alan Watts]

Its use in compounds to form reflective pronouns grew out of independent use in Old English. As a noun from early 14c.

self-

word forming element indicating "oneself," also "automatic," from Old English use of self (pron.) in compounds, e.g. selfbana "suicide," selflice "self-love, pride, vanity, egotism," selfwill "free will."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

self in Medicine

self

[sĕlf]

n. pl. selves (sĕlz)

The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual.
One's consciousness of one's own being or identity; the ego.
That which the immune system identifies as belonging to the body.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.