plural of self.



noun, plural selves.

a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality: one's own self.
a person's nature, character, etc.: his better self.
personal interest.
  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.


being the same throughout, as a color; uniform.
being of one piece with or the same material as the rest: drapes with a self lining.
Immunology. the natural constituents of the body, which are normally not subject to attack by components of the immune system (contrasted with nonself).
Obsolete. same.

pronoun, plural selves.

myself, himself, herself, etc.: to make a check payable to self.

verb (used with or without object)

to self-pollinate.

Origin of self

before 900; Middle English; Old English self, selfa; cognate with Dutch zelf, German selb-, Old Norse sjalfr, Gothic silba Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for selves

Contemporary Examples of selves

Historical Examples of selves

  • But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

  • Of the future, of the actual present, save of their two selves, they scarcely spoke.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • Would not that argue great lack of understanding in our two selves?

  • There was a lot I wanted to say to you—just quietly, in a corner by our two selves.

    A Bride of the Plains

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy

  • Some people can only learn from that sort of experience which comes home to their own dear selves.

British Dictionary definitions for selves



  1. the plural of self
  2. (in combination)ourselves; yourselves; themselves


noun plural selves (sɛlvz)

the distinct individuality or identity of a person or thing
a person's usual or typical bodily make-up or personal characteristicsshe looked her old self again
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
one's own welfare or interestshe only thinks of self
an individual's consciousness of his own identity or being
the self philosophy that which is essential to an individual, esp the mind or soul in Cartesian metaphysics; the ego
a bird, animal, etc, that is a single colour throughout, esp a self-coloured pigeon


not standard myself, yourself, etcseats for self and wife


of the same colour or materiala dress with a self belt See also self-coloured
obsolete the same

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 selves



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for selves



n. pl. selves (sĕlz)

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