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[wuhn-self, wuhnz-] /wʌnˈsɛlf, wʌnz-/
a person's self (used for emphasis or reflexively):
One often hurts oneself accidentally.
be oneself,
  1. to be in one's normal state of mind or physical condition.
  2. to be unaffected and sincere:
    One makes more friends by being oneself than by putting on airs.
by oneself,
  1. without a companion; alone.
  2. through one's own efforts; unaided:
    to become a millionaire by oneself.
come to oneself,
  1. Also, come to. to regain consciousness.
  2. to regain one's self-possession; come to one's senses.
Also, come to one's self.
Origin of oneself
1540-50; shortened form of one's self Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oneself
  • Getting close enough means putting oneself in harm's way.
  • There is so much horror in the world today that involving oneself in another animal that is threatened is enlightening.
  • When faced with such facts, one reaches for bearings, for ways to steady oneself.
  • Making oneself as visible as possible isn't a great tactic from a military perspective.
  • Traveling means extricating oneself from the familiar surroundings of home and community.
  • For as tasty as that sweet-and-sour pork may be, eating meat is an incredibly inefficient way to feed oneself.
  • Immersing oneself in the myth is a way of confirming this universal desire.
  • Dishonesty fully respects neither oneself nor others.
  • It is in the face of such anxiety that one needs the courage to make meanings, to be oneself.
  • One could laugh quietly to oneself all the way to the unemployment line.
British Dictionary definitions for oneself


  1. the reflexive form of one (sense 20), one (sense 21)
  2. (intensifier): one doesn't do that oneself
(preceded by a copula) one's normal or usual self: one doesn't feel oneself after such an experience
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 oneself

1540s, one's self. Hyphenated 18c.; written as one word from c.1827, on model of himself, itself, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with oneself
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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