[ self-ref-er-uh ns, -ref-ruh ns ]
/ ˈsɛlfˈrɛf ər əns, -ˈrɛf rəns /


reference made to oneself, to one's own character or experience, or to a group with which one identifies.
Logic. the property of a statement that is a statement about itself, as “This statement is grammatical.”
Related formsself-ref·er·en·tial [self-ref-uh-ren-shuh l] /ˈsɛlfˌrɛf əˈrɛn ʃəl/, self-re·fer·ring [self-ri-fur-ing] /ˈsɛlf rɪˈfɜr ɪŋ/, adjectiveself-ref·er·en·tial·ly, adverb

Usage note

Social, ethnic, or other groups often use terms of self-reference in a neutral, even affectionate or jocular way, much like nicknames. These self-referential terms function to reinforce solidarity among members of the group. However, when used by outsiders, these very same terms are perceived as offensive by those who belong to the group. Examples of self-referential terms are Canuck, chick, dyke, geek, nigger, queer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for self-reference

  • Hegel also grants to individual things a certain "self-reference," which constitutes them real existences.

    Nature Mysticism|J. Edward Mercer
  • She takes so much interest in all these absorbing social problems,—interest so unassuming, so free from all self-reference.

    The Confounding of Camelia|Anne Douglas Sedgwick