[ self-em-ploi-muhnt, self- ]
/ ˈsɛlf ɛmˈplɔɪ mənt, ˌsɛlf- /
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the act or fact of being self-employed.
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Origin of self-employment

First recorded in 1735–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does self-employment mean?

Self-employment is the state of being selfemployed—earning one’s main income by getting paid directly for one’s work, such as by owning one’s own business, as opposed to being an employee and getting paid by an employer.

Self-employment is typically used in a way that refers to a person’s primary, full-time way of earning income—as opposed to working as an employee and doing freelance work on the side, for example.

The term self-employed is often used by and applied to people who consider themselves business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

Example: I love self-employment—my boss is amazing.

Where does self-employment come from?

Employment is a noun form of the verb employ, which ultimately derives from the Latin implicāre, meaning “to engage” (the word engage is sometimes used to mean “to hire” or “to employ”). The self part of the word is used in the same way in other words like self-government and self-control.

Most people who are self-employed will tell you self-employment has its pros and cons. On the positive side, you’re your own boss. But it’s often a lot of responsibility and risk. People who are self-employed don’t get many of the benefits associated with being a full-time employee of a company or organization. Self-employment doesn’t necessarily mean you work alone—many self-employed business owners employ other people.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to self-employment?

What are some words that share a root or word element with selfemployment

What are some words that often get used in discussing selfemployment?

How is self-employment used in real life?

Self-employment is often used in the context of people’s status as workers, such as for tax purposes.



Try using self-employment!

Is self-employment used correctly in the following sentence?

As self-employment becomes more popular, fewer people have a traditional 9-to-5 office job.

How to use self-employment in a sentence