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[selvz] /sɛlvz/
plural of self.


[self] /sɛlf/
noun, plural selves.
a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality:
one's own self.
a person's nature, character, etc.:
his better self.
personal interest.
  1. the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
  2. the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.
being the same throughout, as a color; uniform.
being of one piece with or the same material as the rest:
drapes with a self lining.
Immunology. the natural constituents of the body, which are normally not subject to attack by components of the immune system (contrasted with nonself).
Obsolete, same.
pronoun, plural selves.
myself, himself, herself, etc.:
to make a check payable to self.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to self-pollinate.
Origin of self
before 900; Middle English; Old English self, selfa; cognate with Dutch zelf, German selb-, Old Norse sjalfr, Gothic silba Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for selves
  • It can be difficult to recall the mindset of our younger selves when dinosaurs seemed bigger, toothier and more monstrous.
  • We must move our selves from the extant past and look at life as being as old as the creator.
  • We all seemed back to our normal selves again today, ready to make plans and preparations for climbing again.
  • We are so fluffed up with our artificial selves being the deadliest predator.
  • At this point in the semester, everyone is fried, and people don't always present their best selves.
  • Some time for reflection might stop us from hurling insults and instead help us to reach our best selves.
  • Usually faculty members are apologetic as soon as they return to their true selves.
  • So study participants didn't necessarily prefer reality to fantasy, even when their supposed real selves were more successful.
  • Yet the temptation to equate essayists with their essayistic selves is seemingly irrepressible.
  • Ultimately they will be their own punishment and you will be far away from their disgusting, worthless selves.
British Dictionary definitions for selves


  1. the plural of self
  2. (in combination): ourselves, yourselves, themselves


noun (pl) selves (sɛlvz)
the distinct individuality or identity of a person or thing
a person's usual or typical bodily make-up or personal characteristics: she looked her old self again
(rare) good self, good selves, a polite way of referring to or addressing a person (or persons), used following your, his, her, or their
one's own welfare or interests: he only thinks of self
an individual's consciousness of his own identity or being
(philosophy) the self, that which is essential to an individual, esp the mind or soul in Cartesian metaphysics; the ego
a bird, animal, etc, that is a single colour throughout, esp a self-coloured pigeon
(not standard) myself, yourself, etc: seats for self and wife
of the same colour or material: a dress with a self belt See also self-coloured
(obsolete) the same
Word Origin
Old English seolf; related to Old Norse sjālfr, Gothic silba, Old High German selb
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 selves



Old English self, seolf, sylf "one's own person, -self; own, same," from Proto-Germanic *selbaz (cf. Old Norse sjalfr, Old Frisian self, Dutch zelf, Old High German selb, German selb, selbst, Gothic silba), Proto-Germanic *selbaz "self," from PIE *sel-bho-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (see idiom).

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. [Alan Watts]
Its use in compounds to form reflective pronouns grew out of independent use in Old English. As a noun from early 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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selves in Medicine

self (sělf)
n. pl. selves (sělz)

  1. The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual.

  2. One's consciousness of one's own being or identity; the ego.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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