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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for herself
  • Before long, she had made a name for herself-literally-taking the first two letters of her three given names.
  • He sprints over to the hawk as she thrashes, thoroughly trussing herself, and carefully extracts her.
  • Still, she was not ready to declare herself a singer.
  • She turned around and found herself staring into the eyes of a mountain lion.
  • She struggles to free herself, but every movement drags her deeper.
  • Nova sang softly to herself and then someone brought out a guitar.
  • Never does she give herself over to a vocal so thoroughly that she becomes it.
  • So it is herself she is thinking of, not of any children.
  • Sally, in contrast, had never done any serious climbing and did not consider herself a mountaineer.
  • In a panic, she managed to knock out the crocodile and free herself.
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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