an emphatic form of them
: The authors themselves left the theater. The contract was written by the partners themselves.
a reflexive form of they
(used as the direct or indirect object
of a verb
or the object of a preposition): They washed themselves quickly. The painters gave themselves a week to finish the work. The noisy passengers drew attention to themselves.
(used after an indefinite singular antecedent in place of the definite masculine himself or the definite feminine herself ): No one who ignores the law can call themselves a good citizen.
(used in place of they or them after as, than, or but ): no soldiers braver than themselves; As for the entertainers, everyone got paid but themselves.
their usual, normal, characteristic selves: After a hot meal and a few hours' rest, they were themselves again.
Origin: 1300–50; them
; replacing themself, Middle English thamself;