[self-im-pawr-tnt, self-]


having or showing an exaggerated opinion of one's own importance; pompously conceited or haughty.

Origin of self-important

First recorded in 1765–75
Related formsself-im·por·tance, nounself-im·por·tant·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-important

Contemporary Examples of self-important

  • Had he ever done something like in Newtown, every self-important shrink on TV would have claimed they'd have seen it coming.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Living With Mental Illness

    David Frum

    December 19, 2012

  • It was small and self-important rather than big and magnanimous.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hall Monitor Mitt’s Missed Chance

    John Avlon

    October 17, 2012

  • They get bloated, self-important, and impossible to deal with.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why I Pity Boehner

    Michelle Cottle

    April 8, 2011

  • Real Spike will never sound that self-important, no matter how artistic he gets.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Spike Jonze’s Wild World

    Caryn James

    October 6, 2009

  • A pedantic and self-important “paper architect,” Polyp goes into crisis when his marriage dissolves.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Summer of Our White Male Discontent

    Taylor Antrim

    August 4, 2009

Historical Examples of self-important

  • If the coroner was self-important, he was no more so than his witness.

    The Mark of Cain

    Carolyn Wells

  • Shepparton is to-day a local capital, busy and self-important.

    Australian Pictures

    Howard Willoughby

  • She was inclined to be fussy and self-important and lacking in self-reliance.


    Frank Swinnerton

  • He was old, fussy, and self-important, and withal no friend to me.

    Helmet of Navarre

    Bertha Runkle

  • Of all the impudent, conceited, self-important young whippersnappers!

    The Unspeakable Perk

    Samuel Hopkins Adams

British Dictionary definitions for self-important



having or showing an unduly high opinion of one's own abilities, importance, etc
Derived Formsself-importantly, adverbself-importance, 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

Word Origin and History for self-important

"having or showing an exaggerated estimation of one's own importance," 1728, from self- + important. Related: Self-importance (1728).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper