[self-di-nahy-uh l, self-]


the sacrifice of one's own desires; unselfishness.
an act or instance of restraining or curbing one's desires: To reduce, one has to practice self-denial at the dinner table.

Origin of self-denial

First recorded in 1635–45
Related formsself-de·ny·ing, adjectiveself-de·ny·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-denial

Contemporary Examples of self-denial

Historical Examples of self-denial

  • This self-denial is the test and definition of self-government.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • I lay no claim to the distinction, and have the self-denial to reject it.'

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • At the root of all lies the fear of the self-denial and the sacrifice which will be needed.

  • He has never known any hardships or been forced into any self-denial.

    Great Uncle Hoot-Toot

    Mrs. Molesworth

  • A self-denial no less austere than the saint's is demanded of the scholar.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

British Dictionary definitions for self-denial



the denial or sacrifice of one's own desires
Derived Formsself-denying, adjectiveself-denyingly, adverb
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-denial

1640s, from self- + denial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper