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selfish

[sel-fish] /ˈsɛl fɪʃ/
adjective
1.
devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2.
characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself:
selfish motives.
Origin of selfish
1630-1640
1630-40; self + -ish1
Related forms
selfishly, adverb
selfishness, noun
Synonyms
1. self-interested, self-seeking, egoistic; illiberal, parsimonious, stingy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for selfish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So selfish, so small, for a man who knows in his heart how great God is.

    Romany of the Snows Gilbert Parker
  • It ain't a selfish feeling, so I know there's some good in it.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • I'll crowd him right out; I know it may be selfish, but, damn it!

    Vandover and the Brute Frank Norris
  • But the feelings of Cornelius in no case deserved consideration—they were so selfish.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • But you do all this, not from any selfish motives, but from a sense of duty to the clock itself.

    Clocks Jerome K. Jerome
British Dictionary definitions for selfish

selfish

/ˈsɛlfɪʃ/
adjective
1.
chiefly concerned with one's own interest, advantage, etc, esp to the total exclusion of the interests of others
2.
relating to or characterized by self-interest
Derived Forms
selfishly, adverb
selfishness, 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 selfish
adj.

1630s, from self- + -ish. Said in Hacket's life of Archbishop Williams (1693) to have been coined by Presbyterians. In the 17c., synonyms included self-seeking (1620s), self-ended and self-ful.

Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs. [Richard Dawkins, "The Selfish Gene," 1976]
Related: Selfishly; selfishness. Cf. similar formations in German selbstisch, Swedish sjelfvisk, Danish selvisk.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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