[self-ri-lahy-uhns, self-]
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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World English Dictionary
reliance on one's own abilities, decisions, etc

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1883, from self + reliance (q.v.). First recorded in J.S. Mill.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

“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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Example sentences
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.
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