[ self-ref-er-uhns, -ref-ruhns ]

  1. reference made to oneself, to one's own character or experience, or to a group with which one identifies.

  2. Logic. the property of a statement that is a statement about itself, as “This statement is grammatical.”

usage note For self-reference

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.

Other words from self-reference

  • self-ref·er·en·tial [self-ref-uh-ren-shuhl], /ˈsɛlfˌrɛf əˈrɛn ʃəl/, self-re·fer·ring [self-ri-fur-ing], /ˈsɛlf rɪˈfɜr ɪŋ/, adjective
  • self-ref·er·en·tial·ly, adverb

Words Nearby self-reference Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use self-reference in a sentence

  • 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
  • She was too rancourless, too detached from conventional standards, too free from private self-reference.

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

    Nature Mysticism | J. Edward Mercer