noun, plural selves.
- the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
- the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.
pronoun, plural selves.
verb (used with or without object)
Origin of self
noun plural selves (sɛlvz)
Word Origin for self
Old English self, seolf, sylf "one's own person, -self; own, same," from Proto-Germanic *selbaz (cf. Old Norse sjalfr, Old Frisian self, Dutch zelf, Old High German selb, German selb, selbst, Gothic silba), Proto-Germanic *selbaz "self," from PIE *sel-bho-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (see idiom).
Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. [Alan Watts]
Its use in compounds to form reflective pronouns grew out of independent use in Old English. As a noun from early 14c.