• synonyms


[self-di-nahy-uh l, self-]
See more synonyms for self-denial on Thesaurus.com
  1. the sacrifice of one's own desires; unselfishness.
  2. an act or instance of restraining or curbing one's desires: To reduce, one has to practice self-denial at the dinner table.
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Origin of self-denial

First recorded in 1635–45
Related formsself-de·ny·ing, adjectiveself-de·ny·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for self-denying

altruistic, benevolent, charitable, chivalrous, devoted, disinterested, extroverted, generous, helpful, humanitarian, incorruptible, indulgent, liberal, loving, magnanimous, noble, self-effacing, self-forgetful, self-forgetting, self-sacrificing

Examples from the Web for self-denying

Contemporary Examples of self-denying

Historical Examples of self-denying

  • Had they ever reflected on the heroism of women, on their self-denying, unrewarded labour?

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Violet could realize her personality and the self-denying life that she led.

    The Greater Power

    Harold Bindloss

  • Alchemists were, certainly, men of pure lives, self-denying and humble.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

  • I hate all kind of strictness, and duty, and self-denying, and that kind of thing.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • But we must note one of the implications of this self-denying ordinance of science.

British Dictionary definitions for self-denying


  1. the denial or sacrifice of one's own desires
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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-denying



1640s, from self- + denial.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper