[ self-kuhn-teynd, self- ]
See synonyms for self-contained on
  1. containing in oneself or itself all that is necessary; independent.

  2. reserved or uncommunicative.

  1. self-controlled or self-possessed.

  2. (of a machine or mechanism) complete in itself.

Origin of self-contained

First recorded in 1585–95

Other words from self-contained

  • self-con·tain·ed·ly [self-kuhn-tey-nid-lee, self-], /ˈsɛlf kənˈteɪ nɪd li, ˌsɛlf-/, adverb
  • self-con·tain·ed·ness, noun

Words Nearby self-contained Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use self-contained in a sentence

  • A full, busy youth is your only prelude to a self-contained and independent age; and the muff inevitably develops into a bore.

    The Pocket R.L.S. | Robert Louis Stevenson
  • "Lovers" would serve better, but is perhaps too expansive to be used of a self-contained race.

    The Nabob | Alphonse Daudet
  • She could scarcely reconcile this acute, self-contained man with the enthusiast and comedian she had seen in the Cure's garden.

  • Quiet and reserved he always was, a self-contained child whose only friend was his mother.

  • He watched her as she went about her work, silent, self-contained and solitary.

    That Lass O' Lowrie's | Frances Hodgson Burnett

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

  1. able or tending to keep one's feelings, thoughts, etc, to oneself; reserved

  2. able to control one's feelings or emotions in the presence of others

Derived forms of self-contained

  • self-containedly, adverb
  • self-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