[ self-di-tur-muh-ney-shuhn, self- ]
See synonyms for self-determination on
  1. determination by oneself or itself, without outside influence.

  2. freedom to live as one chooses, or to act or decide without consulting another or others.

  1. the determining by the people of the form their government shall have, without reference to the wishes of any other nation, especially by people of a territory or former colony.

Origin of self-determination

1670–80; 1915–20 for def. 3

Other words from self-determination

  • self-de·ter·mined, adjective
  • self-de·ter·min·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use self-determination in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for self-determination


  1. the power or ability to make a decision for oneself without influence from outside

  2. the right of a nation or people to determine its own form of government without influence from outside

Derived forms of self-determination

  • self-determined, adjective
  • self-determining, adjective

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