English

Definition of self noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    self

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//self//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//self//
     
    (pl. selves
    BrE BrE//selvz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//selvz//
     
    )
     
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  1. 1  [countable, usually singular] the type of person you are, especially the way you normally behave, look or feel You'll soon be feeling your old self again (= feeling well or happy again). He's not his usual happy self this morning. Only with a few people could she be her real self (= show what she was really like rather than what she pretended to be). his private/professional self (= how he behaves at home/work)
  2. 2[uncountable] (also the self [singular]) (formal) a person’s personality or character that makes them different from other people Many people living in institutions have lost their sense of self (= the feeling that they are individual people). the inner self (= a person’s emotional and spiritual character) a lack of confidence in the self
  3. 3[uncountable] (formal) your own advantage or pleasure rather than that of other people She didn't do it for any reason of self. Self, self, self! That’s all you ever think about!
  4. 4[countable] used to refer to a person You didn't hurt your little self, did you? We look forward to seeing Mrs Brown and your good self this evening.
  5. Word Origin Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zelf and German selbe. Early use was emphatic, expressing the sense ‘(I) myself’, ‘(he) himself’, etc.Extra examples He was afraid to reveal his innermost self. He’s his usual cheerful self again. Her private and public selves were vastly different. I was very thirsty (note to self: bring water on walks!). She knew his better self would struggle to serve her best interests. She knew that with a holiday he would be back to his former self. a book about reaching for one’s better self a movie about a boy who falls in love and finds his true self in the process He argues that there has been an increased focus on the self. He’s not his usual happy self this morning. It is now fashionable to concentrate on healing the inner self. Many people living in institutions have lost their sense of self. Only with a few people could she be her real self. Such problems stem from deep insecurity and a lack of confidence in the self. You’ll soon be feeling your old self again.Idioms
    be a shadow/ghost of your former self
     
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    to not have the strength, influence, etc. that you used to have When his career ended, he became a shadow of his former self.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: self