[self-kuh n-teynd, self-]
See more synonyms for self-contained on
  1. containing in oneself or itself all that is necessary; independent.
  2. reserved or uncommunicative.
  3. self-controlled or self-possessed.
  4. (of a machine or mechanism) complete in itself.

Origin of self-contained

First recorded in 1585–95
Related formsself-con·tain·ed·ly [self-kuh n-tey-nid-lee, self-] /ˈsɛlf kənˈteɪ nɪd li, ˌsɛlf-/, adverbself-con·tain·ed·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-contained

Contemporary Examples of self-contained

Historical Examples of self-contained

  • Yet we have just seen that the Greeks of old were too self-contained for their Italian brethren.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • Each village community was self-contained, and had its own officers.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • To him the subject-matter 23 of the science is self-contained.

  • His gloomy eye smouldered as it considered the self-contained buccaneer.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • And he was cool, too; cool and self-contained; fearless and purposeful.


    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for self-contained


  1. containing within itself all parts necessary for completeness
  2. (of a flat) having its own kitchen, bathroom, and lavatory not shared by others and usually having its own entrance
  3. able or tending to keep one's feelings, thoughts, etc, to oneself; reserved
  4. able to control one's feelings or emotions in the presence of others
Derived Formsself-containedly, adverbself-containedness, noun
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-contained

1590s, from self- + contained (see contain).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper