• synonyms


noun, plural selves.
  1. a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality: one's own self.
  2. a person's nature, character, etc.: his better self.
  3. personal interest.
  4. Philosophy.
    1. the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
    2. the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.
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  1. being the same throughout, as a color; uniform.
  2. being of one piece with or the same material as the rest: drapes with a self lining.
  3. Immunology. the natural constituents of the body, which are normally not subject to attack by components of the immune system (contrasted with nonself).
  4. Obsolete. same.
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pronoun, plural selves.
  1. myself, himself, herself, etc.: to make a check payable to self.
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to self-pollinate.
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Origin of self

before 900; Middle English; Old English self, selfa; cognate with Dutch zelf, German selb-, Old Norse sjalfr, Gothic silba
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for selfs

Historical Examples of selfs

  • For is not death also a bugbear of Other People, not at all of my own Selfs making?

    The Joys of Being a Woman

    Winifred Kirkland

  • The selfs or solid colors must have every hair of the same color.

  • I was heavy in spirit, my conscience accused me of a wrong to one of the “selfs” in me,—for we have several selfs, I think.

    Unveiling a Parallel

    Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Marchant

  • Us ladies is musin our selfs er makin dis ole fing farly howl.

    The Broken Sword

    Dennison Worthington

  • Dey cum back ter de big house en take all de sweet milk in de dairy house, en help 'emselfs ter evvy thing in de smoke houses.

British Dictionary definitions for selfs


noun plural selves (sɛlvz)
  1. the distinct individuality or identity of a person or thing
  2. a person's usual or typical bodily make-up or personal characteristicsshe looked her old self again
  3. good self or good selves rare a polite way of referring to or addressing a person (or persons), used following your, his, her, or their
  4. one's own welfare or interestshe only thinks of self
  5. an individual's consciousness of his own identity or being
  6. the self philosophy that which is essential to an individual, esp the mind or soul in Cartesian metaphysics; the ego
  7. a bird, animal, etc, that is a single colour throughout, esp a self-coloured pigeon
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  1. not standard myself, yourself, etcseats for self and wife
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  1. of the same colour or materiala dress with a self belt See also self-coloured
  2. obsolete the same
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Word Origin for self

Old English seolf; related to Old Norse sjālfr, Gothic silba, Old High German selb
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 selfs



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

selfs in Medicine


n. pl. selves (sĕlz)
  1. The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual.
  2. One's consciousness of one's own being or identity; the ego.
  3. That which the immune system identifies as belonging to the body.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.