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[self-in-ter-ist, -trist, self-] /ˌsɛlfˈɪn tər ɪst, -trɪst, ˈsɛlf-/
regard for one's own interest or advantage, especially with disregard for others.
personal interest or advantage.
Origin of self-interest
Related forms
self-interested, adjective
self-interestedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for self-interest
  • Its oblivious self-interest violates the unity of purpose that defines your system as yours.
  • Game theory has always had trouble accounting for players with no rational self-interest, and nuclear deterrence is no exception.
  • In free-market regimes, self-interest is treated as hardwired.
  • But rational self-interest is an inadequate foundation for selfhood.
  • When there's no ownership, the pursuit of individual self-interest can make everyone worse off.
  • Their friendship, intermittent over the years, was based on self-interest rather than on intimacy.
  • Were the press any other industry, cynicism about its self-interest in promoting marginal challengers would prevail.
  • In the law of evidence, the fact that a statement is against self-interest is usually considered strongly probative of its truth.
  • Nor is it consistent with his grossly well-nurtured sense of self-interest and self-preservation.
  • Never was so much blatant conformism, corporate ambition, and the crudest self-interest made so spectacular by images.
British Dictionary definitions for self-interest


one's personal interest or advantage
the act or an instance of pursuing one's own interest
Derived Forms
self-interested, adjective
self-interestedness, noun
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-interest

also self interest, 1640s, from self- + interest (n.). Related: Self-interested.

[Self-interest] is a doctrine not very lofty, but clear and sure. It does not seek to attain great objects; but it attains those it aims for without too much effort. ... [It] does not produce great devotion; but it suggests little sacrifices each day; by itself it cannot make a man virtuous; but it forms a multitude of citizens who are regulated, temperate, moderate, farsighted, masters of themselves; and if it does not lead directly to virtue through the will, it brings them near to it insensibly through habits. [Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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