Dictionary.com

themselves

[ thuhm-selvz, them- ]
/ ðəmˈsɛlvz, ˌðɛm- /
Save This Word!

pronoun
a reflexive form of plural 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.
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 singular they used as the direct or indirect object of a verb or the object of a preposition:
  1. (used to refer to a generic or unspecified person previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context): No one who ignores the law can call themselves a good citizen.
  2. (used to refer to a specific or known person previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context): I want to help my friend who is harming themselves.
  3. (used to refer to a nonbinary or gender-nonconforming person previously mentioned, about to be mentioned, or present in the immediate context): Ash introduced themselves to the job recruiter.
(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.
QUIZ
SPRINT TO THE FINISH WITH THIS OLYMPICS QUIZ!
Compete in our Olympics quiz to see if you can take home the gold medal in Olympics knowledge.
Question 1 of 10
Where was the Olympics first held?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of themselves

First recorded in 1300–50; them + selves; replacing themself,Middle English thamself; see self

usage note for themselves

See myself, they.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use themselves in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for themselves

themselves
/ (ðəmˈsɛlvz) /

pronoun
  1. the reflexive form of they or them
  2. (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
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
FEEDBACK