1. the act or process of developing; growth; progress: child development; economic development.
  2. a significant consequence or event: recent developments in the field of science.
  3. a developed or advanced state or form: Drama reached its highest development in the plays of Shakespeare.
  4. Music. the part of a movement or composition in which a theme or themes are developed, or unfolded and elaborated, by various technical means, so as to reveal their inherent possibilities.
  5. a large group of private houses or of apartment houses, often of similar design, constructed as a unified community, especially by a real-estate developer or government organization.
  6. Chess. the act or process of developing chess pieces.
  7. Mining. the work of digging openings, as tunnels, raises, and winzes, to give access to new workings, and of erecting necessary structures.

Origin of development

1745–55; develop + -ment, or < French développement
Related formsde·vel·op·men·tal, de·vel·op·men·ta·ry, adjectivede·vel·op·men·tal·ly, adverban·ti·de·vel·op·ment, adjectivehy·per·de·vel·op·ment, nounhy·per·de·vel·op·men·tal, adjectivenon·de·vel·op·ment, nounnon·de·vel·op·men·tal, adjectivenon·de·vel·op·men·tal·ly, adverbpost·de·vel·op·men·tal, adjectivepre·de·vel·op·ment, nounself-de·vel·op·ment, nounsub·de·vel·op·ment, nounsu·per·de·vel·op·ment, nounun·de·vel·op·ment, nounun·de·vel·op·men·tal, adjectiveun·de·vel·op·men·tal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for development

Antonyms for development Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for self-development

Historical Examples of self-development

  • She, 43too, has right to self-development in some chosen way.

    The Family and it's Members

    Anna Garlin Spencer

  • According to Hegel the dialectic is the self-development of the Idea.

  • Nowadays we demand time for self-development, for reading, for thinking, for pleasure.

    Tea-Table Talk

    Jerome K. Jerome

  • And the most important preliminary to self-development is the faculty of concentrating at will.

    Mental Efficiency

    Arnold Bennett

  • You see I'm all for self-development and the chance to live one's life.

    The Reef

    Edith Wharton

British Dictionary definitions for self-development


  1. the state or process of improving or developing oneself


  1. the act or process of growing, progressing, or developing
  2. the product or result of developing
  3. a fact, event, or happening, esp one that changes a situation
  4. an area or tract of land that has been developed
  5. Also called: development section the section of a movement, usually in sonata form, in which the basic musical themes are developed
  6. chess
    1. the process of developing pieces
    2. the manner in which they are developed
    3. the position of the pieces in the early part of a game with reference to their attacking potential or defensive efficiency
Derived Formsdevelopmental, adjectivedevelopmentally, 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-development



1756, "an unfolding;" see develop + -ment. Of property, with the sense "bringing out the latent possibilities," from 1885 (Pickering's glossary of Americanisms, 1816, has betterments "The improvements made on new lands, by cultivation, and the erection of buildings, &c."). Meaning "state of economic advancement" is from 1902. Meaning "advancement through progressive stages" is 1836.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

self-development in Medicine


  1. The act of developing.
  2. The state of being developed.
  3. A significant event, occurrence, or change.
  4. The natural progression from a previous, simpler, or embryonic stage to a later, more complex, or adult stage.
Related formsde•vel′op•mental (-mĕntl) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.