View synonyms for self



[ self ]


, plural selves [selvz].
  1. a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality:

    one's own self.

  2. a person's nature, character, etc.:

    his better self.

  3. personal interest.
  4. Philosophy.
    1. the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
    2. the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.


  1. being the same throughout, as a color; uniform.
  2. being of one piece with or the same material as the rest:

    drapes with a self lining.

  3. Immunology. the natural constituents of the body, which are normally not subject to attack by components of the immune system ( nonself ).
  4. Obsolete. same.


, plural selves.
  1. myself, himself, herself, etc.:

    to make a check payable to self.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. to self-pollinate.


  1. 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 ).




  1. of oneself or itself



  2. by, to, in, due to, for, or from the self




  3. automatic or automatically




/ sɛlf /


  1. the distinct individuality or identity of a person or thing
  2. a person's usual or typical bodily make-up or personal characteristics

    she looked her old self again

  3. good self rare.
    good selfgood selves a polite way of referring to or addressing a person (or persons), used following your, his, her, or their
  4. one's own welfare or interests

    he only thinks of self

  5. an individual's consciousness of his own identity or being
  6. the self
    the self philosophy that which is essential to an individual, esp the mind or soul in Cartesian metaphysics; the ego
  7. a bird, animal, etc, that is a single colour throughout, esp a self-coloured pigeon


  1. not_standard.
    myself, yourself, etc

    seats for self and wife


  1. of the same colour or material See also self-coloured

    a dress with a self belt

  2. obsolete.
    the same

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Word History and Origins

Origin of self1

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English self, selfa; cognate with Dutch zelf, German selb-, Old Norse sjalfr, Gothic silba; akin to Irish féin, Latin suī, sē

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Word History and Origins

Origin of self1

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

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Example Sentences

Both of the tests she took were of the nasal swab variety, although the one she took on campus was self-administered.

From Fortune

A vicious cycle of rejection by others played out in which undercontrolled youngsters never had opportunities to learn social skills and self-control.

Even though what she’s doing is sometimes very self-serving, and sometimes it’s downright menacing, she still has her reasons.

Those crystals provide a nucleation point where the sugar structure — the candy — can self-assemble.

Florida, concerned that it had taken on too much risk, has since scaled back its self-insurance plan.

We see detoxing as a path to transcendence, a symbol of modern urban virtue and self-transformation through abstinence.

Stephanie Giorgio, a classical musician, credits The Class for helping her cope with anxiety, focus, fear, and self-doubt.

For someone with anorexia, self-starvation makes them feel better.

I went into the audition as Fericito, the Venezuelan percussionist, and then I did a self-defense expert.

Those who come to the Dinner Party are self-selecting; they do want to talk about it.

Let the thought of self pass in, and the beauty of great action is gone, like the bloom from a soiled flower.

Now this setting up of an orderly law-abiding self seems to me to imply that there are impulses which make for order.

At present, Louis was too self-absorbed by the struggles within him, to look deep into what was passing around him.

But to wave this discourse of Heathens, how many self-contradicting principles are there held among Christians?

Jean grinned and dribbled self-consciously, and showed his two little teeth to the proudest father in the world.


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Seleucus Iself-abandoned