having succeeded in life unaided: He is a self-made man.
made by oneself.

Origin of self-made

First recorded in 1605–15 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-made

Contemporary Examples of self-made

Historical Examples of self-made

  • As a general rule, self-made men are the only well made men.

  • The vast majority of them are self-made men who started at the bottom of the ladder.

    War Taxation

    Otto H. Kahn

  • He was a self-made man and was conscious that he had done a good job.

    Keziah Coffin

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • He was the self-made man who had shed the traces of self-making.

  • The mediævals not only had self-government, but their self-government was self-made.

British Dictionary definitions for self-made



having achieved wealth, status, etc, by one's own efforts
made by oneself
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-made

1610s, "made by oneself," from self- + made. Self-made man first recorded 1832, American English; the sense is "having attained material success in life without extraneous advantages."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper