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[self-ri-lahy-uh ns, self-] /ˈsɛlf rɪˈlaɪ əns, ˌsɛlf-/
reliance on oneself or one's own powers, resources, etc.
1825-35 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for self-reliance
  • The third hurdle will be convincing private pilots, who pride themselves on self-reliance, to buy and install the system.
  • No friendliness with other nations, no good will for them or by them, can take the place of national self-reliance.
  • The overt theme of his politics is self-reliance and a free-market philosophy.
  • The loss of self-esteem is a celebrated symptom, and my own sense of self had all but disappeared, along with any self-reliance.
  • Even if they support its message, they might want more self-reliance and responsibility from its members.
  • They believe in self-reliance and personal achievement.
  • The theme of self-reliance, which permeated the course, prefigured his own relationship with the college.
  • It also creates a sustainable tourism market, which in turn promotes a sense of self-reliance for locals.
  • Each society has to decide for itself the appropriate balance between unconditional welfare and self-reliance.
  • Faith used to drive a lot of voluntarism, civic engagement and self-reliance.
British Dictionary definitions for self-reliance


reliance on one's own abilities, decisions, etc
Derived Forms
self-reliant, adjective
self-reliantly, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for self-reliance

1883, from self- + reliance. First recorded in J.S. Mill.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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self-reliance in Culture

“Self-Reliance” definition

(1841) An essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson that advises the reader to “Trust thyself” and argues that “whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” It is the source of several well-known epigrams, such as “To be great is to be misunderstood” and “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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