self (pron.) Look up self at
Old English self, seolf, sylf "one's own person, -self; own, same," from Proto-Germanic *selbaz (cognates: 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 reflexive pronouns grew out of independent use in Old English. As a noun from early 14c.
self- Look up self- at
word forming element indicating "oneself," also "automatic," from Old English use of self (pron.) in compounds, such as selfbana "suicide," selflice "self-love, pride, vanity, egotism," selfwill "free will."
self-absorbed (adj.) Look up self-absorbed at
1796, from self- + absorbed (see absorb).
self-abuse (n.) Look up self-abuse at
c. 1600, "self-deception," from self- + abuse (n.). As a synonym for "masturbation," it is recorded from 1728; an earlier term was self-pollution (1620s).
self-actualization (n.) Look up self-actualization at
1939, from self- + actualization. Popularized, though not coined, by U.S. psychologist and philosopher Abraham H. Maslow (1908-1970).
self-aggrandizing (adj.) Look up self-aggrandizing at
1798, from self- + aggrandizing (see aggrandize).
self-appointed (adj.) Look up self-appointed at
1750, from self- + appointed.
self-assertive (adj.) Look up self-assertive at
1853, from self- + assertive. Related: Self-assertively; self-assertiveness.
self-assurance (n.) Look up self-assurance at
1590s, from self- + assurance.
self-assured (adj.) Look up self-assured at
1711, from self- + assured.
self-aware (adj.) Look up self-aware at
1892, from self- + aware.
self-awareness (n.) Look up self-awareness at
1876, from self- + awareness.
self-centered (adj.) Look up self-centered at
1670s, "fixed, stationary," from self- + center (v.). In reference to persons, "engrossed in the self, with little regard for others," it is recorded from 1783.
self-complacency (n.) Look up self-complacency at
1680s, from self- + complacency.
self-complacent (adj.) Look up self-complacent at
1760, back-formation from self-complacency or else from self- + complacent. Related: Self-complacently.
self-concept (n.) Look up self-concept at
also self concept, 1921, from self- + concept.
self-confidence (n.) Look up self-confidence at
also self confidence, 1650s, from self- + confidence.
self-confident (adj.) Look up self-confident at
1610s, from self- + confident. Related: self-confidently.
self-congratulation (n.) Look up self-congratulation at
1630s, from self- + congratulation.
self-conscious (adj.) Look up self-conscious at
1680s, "aware of one's action," a word of the English Enlightenment (Locke was using it by 1690), from self- + conscious. Morbid sense of "preoccupied with one's own personality" is attested from 1834 (in J.S. Mill). Related: Self-consciously; self-consciousness.
self-contained (adj.) Look up self-contained at
1590s, from self- + contained (see contain).
self-control (n.) Look up self-control at
1711, from self- + control (n.). Coined by English moral philosopher Anthony Ashley Cooper Shaftesbury (1671-1713).
self-criticism (n.) Look up self-criticism at
1780, from self- + criticism. First attested in George Eliot; communist party sense is attested from 1933.
self-deception (n.) Look up self-deception at
1670s, from self- + deception.
self-defense (n.) Look up self-defense at
1650s, "act of defending oneself," first attested in Hobbes, from self- + defense. In sports sense, first with reference to fencing (1728), then boxing (1820s).
self-deluded (adj.) Look up self-deluded at
1766, from self- + deluded (see delude).
self-denial (n.) Look up self-denial at
1640s, from self- + denial.
self-deprecating (adj.) Look up self-deprecating at
1835, from self- + deprecating (see deprecate).
self-deprecation (n.) Look up self-deprecation at
1843, from self- + deprecation.
self-destruct (v.) Look up self-destruct at
in reference to things, "to destroy itself automatically," from self- + destruct, apparently first attested in the U.S. television series "Mission Impossible" (1966). Self-destructive is recorded from 1650s, and self-destruction "suicide" is attested from 1580s.
self-determination (n.) Look up self-determination at
1680s, "determination of mind," from self- + determination. Political sense is attested from 1911, popularized by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924).
self-discipline (n.) Look up self-discipline at
also self discipline, 1796, from self- + discipline (n.). Related: Self-disciplined.
self-educated (adj.) Look up self-educated at
1761, from self- + educated.
self-effacing (adj.) Look up self-effacing at
1902, from self- + effacing (see efface). Self-effacement is recorded from 1866.
self-esteem (n.) Look up self-esteem at
1650s, from self- + esteem (n.). Popularized by phrenology, which assigned it a "bump" (Spurzheim, 1815).
self-evident (adj.) Look up self-evident at
1680s, from self- + evident. First attested in Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding." Related: Self-evidently.
self-examination (n.) Look up self-examination at
1640s, from self- + examination.
self-explanatory (adj.) Look up self-explanatory at
1813, from self- + explanatory.
self-glorification (n.) Look up self-glorification at
1826, from self- + glorification.
self-government (n.) Look up self-government at
1734, of persons; 1798, of states, from self- + government. Related: Self-governing (1680s).
self-help (n.) Look up self-help at
1831, from self- + help (n.). Apparently coined by Carlyle. British Self-Help Emigration Society is attested from 1887.
self-image (n.) Look up self-image at
also self-image, 1904 in psychology, from self- + image (n.).
self-immolation (n.) Look up self-immolation at
also self immolation, 1817, from self- + immolation.
self-important (adj.) Look up self-important at
"having or showing an exaggerated estimation of one's own importance," 1728, from self- + important. Related: Self-importance (1728).
self-improvement (n.) Look up self-improvement at
also self improvement, 1748, from self- + improvement.
self-incrimination (n.) Look up self-incrimination at
also self incrimination, 1892, from self- + incrimination.
self-indulgence (n.) Look up self-indulgence at
also self indulgence, 1753, from self- + indulgence.
self-indulgent (adj.) Look up self-indulgent at
also self indulgent, 1791, from self- + indulgent. Related: Self-indulgently.
self-inflict (v.) Look up self-inflict at
1784, from self- + inflict. Related: self-inflicted.
self-interest (n.) Look up self-interest at
also self interest, 1640s, from self- + interest (n.). Related: Self-interested.
[Self-interest] is a doctrine not very lofty, but clear and sure. It does not seek to attain great objects; but it attains those it aims for without too much effort. ... [It] does not produce great devotion; but it suggests little sacrifices each day; by itself it cannot make a man virtuous; but it forms a multitude of citizens who are regulated, temperate, moderate, farsighted, masters of themselves; and if it does not lead directly to virtue through the will, it brings them near to it insensibly through habits. [Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"]