• synonyms


[self-uh-byoos, self-]
  1. reproach or blame of oneself.
  2. abuse of one's health.
  3. masturbation.
Show More

Origin of self-abuse

First recorded in 1595–1605
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for self-abuse

Historical Examples

  • A girl of nine years was brought to my office addicted to self-abuse.

    The Sexual Question

    August Forel

  • The symptoms of sexual excess are much the same as those of self-abuse.

  • Self-abuse in one or another form is as common in the case of the girl as in that of the boy.


    Henry Stanton

  • Self-abuse is not an uncommon evil at the age of eight or ten.

  • What effect will a period of self-abuse have upon ones offspring?

British Dictionary definitions for self-abuse


  1. disparagement or misuse of one's own abilities, etc
  2. a censorious term for masturbationSee masturbation
Show More
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-abuse


c.1600, "self-deception," from self- + abuse (n.). As a synonym for "masturbation," it is recorded from 1728; an earlier term was self-pollution (1620s).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

self-abuse in Medicine


  1. Abuse of oneself or one's abilities.
  2. Masturbation.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.