Definition for SELF

SELF, a. [or pron. Plur. Selves; used chiefly in composition. Sax. self, sylf; Goth. silba; Sw. sielf; Dan. selv; G. selbst; D. zelf. I know not the primary sense of this word; most probably it is to set or unite, or to separate from others: See Selvedge.]

  1. In old authors, this word sometimes signifies particular, very or same. “And on tham sylfan geare;” in that same Year, that very year. Sax. Chron. A. D. 1052, 1061. Shoot another arrow that self way. – Shak. On these self hills. – Ralegh. At that self moment enters Palamon. – Dryden. In this sense, self is an adjective, and is now obsolete, except when followed by same; as, on the self-same day; the self-same hour; the self-same thing; which to tautology. – Matth. viii.
  2. In present usage, self is united to certain personal pronouns and pronominal adjectives, to express emphasis or distinction; also when the pronoun is used reciprocally. Thus for emphasis, I myself will write; I will examine for myself. Thou thyself shalt go; thou shalt see for thyself. You yourself shall write; you shall see for yourself. He himself shall write; he shall examine for himself. She herself shall write; she shall examine for herself. The child itself shall be carried; it shall be present itself. Reciprocally, I abhor myself; thou enrichest thyself; he loves himself; she admires herself; it pleases itself; we value ourselves; ye hurry yourselves; they see themselves. I did not hurt him, he hurt himself; he did not hurt me, I hurt myself. Except when added to pronouns used reciprocally, self serves to give emphasis to the pronoun, or to render the distinction expressed by it more emphatical. "I myself will decide," not only expresses my determination to decide, but the determination that no other shall decide. Himself, herself, themselves, are used in the nominative case, as well as in the objective. Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples. – John iv. See Matth. xxiii, 4.
  3. Self is sometimes used as a noun, noting the individual subject to his own contemplation or action, or noting identity of person. Consciousness makes every one to be what he calls self. A man's self may be the worst fellow to converse within / the world. – Pope.
  4. It also signifies personal interest, or love of private interest; selfishness. The fondness we have for self … furnishes another long rank of prejudices. – Watts. Self is much used in composition.

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