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[her-self] /hərˈsɛlf/
an emphatic appositive of her or she:
She herself wrote the letter.
a reflexive form of her:
She supports herself.
(used in absolute constructions):
Herself still only a child, she had to take care of her four younger brothers and sisters.
(used as the object of a preposition or as the direct or indirect object of a verb):
She gave herself a facial massage. He asked her for a picture of herself.
(used in comparisons after as or than):
She found out that the others were even more nervous than herself.
her normal or customary self:
After a few weeks of rest, she will be herself again.
Origin of herself
before 1000; Middle English hire-selfe, Old English hire self. See her, self
Usage note
See myself. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for herself
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Caroline herself had engaged his services in the case, and he was faithful.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards Joseph C. Lincoln
  • There was a report that she had first worn it at her christening; the report originated with herself.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • It was no time, she said to herself, to stand upon little punctilios.

    Cousin Henry Anthony Trollope
  • She kept on saying to herself that Mamma didn't know; she didn't know what she had done.

  • She had confessed to herself that she loved him, and she could not now doubt of his love to her.

    Orley Farm Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for herself


  1. the reflexive form of she or her
  2. (intensifier): the queen herself signed the letter
(preceded by a copula) her normal or usual self: she looks herself again after the operation
(Irish & Scot) the wife or woman of the house: is herself at home?
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 herself

Old English hire self; see her (objective case) + self. Originally dative, but since 14c. often treated as genitive, hence her own sweet self, etc. Also see himself.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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