View synonyms for self-interest


[ self-in-trist, -in-ter-ist, self- ]


  1. regard for one's own interest or advantage, especially with disregard for others:

    He appears to be motivated solely by self-interest, greed, and an insatiable hunger for self-aggrandizement.

  2. personal interest or advantage:

    It is particularly hard to understand why a group would vote against its own self-interest.

  3. Economics. the doctrine that acting to one’s own benefit or advantage can also result in a benefit for society at large:

    Adam Smith believed that individuals pursuing rational self-interest would create wealth through efficient production and competition.



  1. one's personal interest or advantage
  2. the act or an instance of pursuing one's own interest

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Derived Forms

  • ˌself-ˈinterestedness, noun
  • ˌself-ˈinterested, adjective

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Other Words From

  • self-in·ter·est·ed adjective
  • self-in·ter·est·ed·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of self-interest1

First recorded in 1640–50

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Compare Meanings

How does self-interest compare to similar and commonly confused words? Explore the most common comparisons:

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Example Sentences

Marrying yourself merely underscores selfishness and self-interest, rather than enabling you to live singly in the best way.

You have to be very angry to be at the point where you no longer have any self-interest.

“Better” means more courageous and more independent, less partisan and less motivated by self-interest.

In a nation—in our nation—the whole point is to balance individual self-interest with the common good.

Is that the ultimate message of House of Cards—that politics is all about self-interest?

I can hardly believe he is the same—turned into a mere machine, with a moving spring of self-interest!

She is not capable of experiencing common affection for any one; every feeling of her nature is merged in self-interest.

The shopkeeper and his wife, drawn two ways by pity and self-interest, began by lulling their consciences with words.

Self-interest and self-preservation dictated many laws which secured the welfare of society.

Ability is demonstrated only under strenuous competition inspired by self-interest.


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