[self-prez-er-vey-shuh n, self-]

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-preserving

Historical Examples of self-preserving

  • After all, self-preservation is the first law, and Oscar is a self-preserving type.

    Four-Day Planet

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Prompted by a self-preserving instinct, this nationality deftly kept itself hid.

    The Brothers' War

    John Calvin Reed

  • Hunger is the most pressing desire of the egoistic or self-preserving impulse.

    Outwitting Our Nerves

    Josephine A. Jackson and Helen M. Salisbury

  • A cool, self-centred, self-preserving something in his mind had taught him to command all his own forces for one purpose.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

  • He was an average, self-preserving Caucasian, who was only merciless when his own life hung in the balance.

    The Rogue Elephant

    Elliott Whitney

British Dictionary definitions for self-preserving


  1. 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-preserving



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper