- an emphatic form of them or they: The authors themselves left the theater. The contract was written by the partners themselves.
- a reflexive form of they (used as the direct or indirect object of a verb or the object of a preposition): They washed themselves quickly. The painters gave themselves a week to finish the work. The noisy passengers drew attention to themselves.
- (used with a singular indefinite pronoun or singular noun antecedent in place of the definite masculine himself or the definite feminine herself): No one who ignores the law can call themselves a good citizen. How do you help a friend who is harming themselves?
- (used in place of they or them after as, than, or but): no soldiers braver than themselves; As for the entertainers, everyone got paid but themselves.
- their usual, normal, characteristic selves: After a hot meal and a few hours' rest, they were themselves again.
Origin of themselves
Examples from the Web for themselves
Specifically, the pilots got themselves into a high altitude stall, where the wings lose the capacity to provide lift.Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly?
January 4, 2015
Regardless, few had been given any reason to believe they could build a life for themselves beyond the streets.Bobby Shmurda and Rap’s Ultimate Hoop Dream
December 23, 2014
The reviews in themselves constitute a demonstration of why the regime restricts the Internet.Inside the ‘Surprisingly Great’ North Korean Hacker Hotel
December 20, 2014
Now they are a notch on a belt, and the savior can feel good about themselves.To Catch a Sex Worker: A&E’s Awful, Exploitative Ambush Show
December 19, 2014
My parents are building a mausoleum for themselves in my childhood home.I’m a Digital Hoarder
December 17, 2014
An hour's silence with these two people by themselves might have worked wonders.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Surface manifestations are, in and of themselves, merely deceptive.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
Government must learn to take less from people so that people can do more for themselves.
Let us measure what we will do for others by what they will do for themselves.
The truths in themselves were enough to bear telling and retelling.Way of the Lawless
- the reflexive form of they or them
- (intensifier)the team themselves voted on it
- (preceded by a copula) their normal or usual selvesthey don't seem themselves any more
- Also: themself not standard a reflexive form of an indefinite antecedent such as one, whoever, or anybodyeveryone has to look after themselves
Word Origin and History for themselves
c.1500, standard from 1540s, replacing themself (cf. theirself). Themself returned late 20c. as some writers took to avoiding himself with gender-neutral someone, anyone, etc.