[self-prez-er-vey-shuh n, self-]


preservation of oneself from harm or destruction.

Origin of self-preservation

First recorded in 1605–15
Related formsself-pre·serv·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-preservation

Contemporary Examples of self-preservation

Historical Examples of self-preservation

  • Here is nature once more at her old game of self-preservation.

    Monday or Tuesday

    Virginia Woolf

  • He was savage justice and the law of self-preservation personified.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • It was the instinct of self-preservation that gave him inspiration to accomplish it.

    The Gaunt Gray Wolf

    Dillon Wallace

  • They are self-preservation and the perpetuation of the species.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • Therefore she uses the right which she reserved—the right of self-preservation.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for self-preservation



the preservation of oneself from danger or injury, esp as a basic instinct
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-preservation

1610s, from self- + preservation. First attested in Donne.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper