What mean selfish

Selfish Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

self·​ish ˈsel-fish 


: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others


: arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others

a selfish act


: being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function

selfish DNA

also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication

selfish genes


  • egocentric
  • egoistic
  • egoistical
  • egomaniacal
  • egotistic
  • egotistical
  • narcissistic
  • self-absorbed
  • self-centered
  • self-concerned
  • self-infatuated
  • self-interested
  • self-involved
  • self-loving
  • self-obsessed
  • self-oriented
  • self-preoccupied
  • self-regarding
  • self-seeking
  • self-serving
  • solipsistic

See all Synonyms & Antonyms in Thesaurus 

Example Sentences

She's interested only in her own selfish concerns. I wish he'd spend less time with his friends and more time with me. Am I being selfish?

Recent Examples on the Web What could be more selfish, more gratifying, than the sensation of the right dress against your skin? —Molly Fischer, The New Yorker, 27 Sep. 2022 He’s selfish, pessimistic and wants nothing to do with either side of the brewing conflict. —Sydney Odman, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Nov. 2022 In the cultural consciousness, only children are frequently pegged as weirdos: maladjusted, selfish, spoiled, uncompromising, or just unusually precocious. —Chiara Dello Joio, The Atlantic, 1 Nov. 2022 To refuse to answer felt selfish, careless, a waste of potential influence for a girl born to people who were never given such a chance. —Sarah Smarsh, Harper’s Magazine , 26 Oct. 2022 Our main man, Julian Kaye (Jon Bernthal), has not committed one selfish act in his sad life. —Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2022 The Princeton Offense was even adopted by NBA teams, despite the league’s reputation for selfish, one-on-one play. —John Otis, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Aug. 2022 Owned by Stephanie Morimoto and her co-partner Venus Williams, Asutra creates products that help deflate the notion that self-care is selfish. —Jacorey Moon, Good Housekeeping, 26 Nov. 2022 This is all just rhetoric to convince ourselves to be selfish. —Josh Kun, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'selfish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler

The first known use of selfish was in 1628

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Cite this Entry



“Selfish.Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfish. Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.

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Kids Definition



self·​ish ˈsel-fish 

: taking care of oneself without thought for others

selfishly adverb

selfishness noun

Medical Definition



self·​ish ˈsel-fish 

: being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function

selfish DNA

also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication

selfish genes

More from Merriam-Webster on


Nglish: Translation of selfish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of selfish for Arabic Speakers

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences

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Merriam-Webster unabridged

Selfish Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.

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[ sel-fish ]

/ ˈsɛl fɪʃ /

See the most commonly confused word associated with selfish

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See synonyms for selfish on Thesaurus.com

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devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.


Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.


1 self-interested, self-seeking, egoistic; illiberal, parsimonious, stingy.

See synonyms for selfish on Thesaurus.com



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Question 1 of 7

Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of selfish

First recorded in 1630–40; self + -ish1


self·ish·ly, adverbself·ish·ness, noun

Words nearby selfish

self-instructional, self-insurance, self-insure, self-insurer, self-interest, selfish, selfishness, self-judgment, self-justification, self-justifying, self-knowledge

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Words related to selfish

egotistical, greedy, narcissistic, self-centered, egocentric, egoistic, egoistical, egomaniacal, egotistic, hoggish, mean, mercenary, miserly, narrow, narrow-minded, parsimonious, prejudiced, self-indulgent, self-interested, self-seeking

How to use selfish in a sentence

  • For her postdoctoral work, Zanders focused on a particular type of dustup caused by some selfish genes — genes that propagate themselves even if it hurts the host.

    This year’s SN 10 scientists aim to solve some of science’s biggest challenges|Science News Staff|September 30, 2020|Science News

  • The most effective strategy was the selfish strategy where everyone tried to go as fast as possible.

    Complexity Scientist Beats Traffic Jams Through Adaptation|Rodrigo Pérez Ortega|September 28, 2020|Quanta Magazine

  • Their response to the pandemic and this great work that pharma people are doing has reminded many of their capacities and how they can be helpful to the world—as opposed to the industry being viewed as kind of selfish and uncooperative.

    When Bill Gates thinks we’ll have a COVID-19 vaccine—and why that won’t be the end of the pandemic|cleaf2013|September 21, 2020|Fortune

  • The next day the mayor called the partiers “absolutely reckless and selfish,” and she closed the beach parking to make an example of them.

    The Climate Crisis Is Happening Right Now. Just Look at California’s Weekend. |by Elizabeth Weil|September 9, 2020|ProPublica

  • I feel selfish in a sense because I’m one of the lucky ones.

    We need a COVID vaccine. We also need to figure out how to get it to people|Sy Mukherjee|August 27, 2020|Fortune

  • Emetophobia tends to compromise my relationships, turning me into a selfish jerk.

    Why My Norovirus Panic Makes Me Sick|Lizzie Crocker|January 5, 2015|DAILY BEAST

  • Self-marriage is the ultimate brand extension of a self-obsessed, selfish populus.

    Why Singles Should Say ‘I Don’t’ to The Self-Marriage Movement|Tim Teeman|December 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Scrooge is still with us, not just in print but embodied in the cold hearts and selfish calculations of misanthropes everywhere.

    How Dickens and Scrooge Saved Christmas|Clive Irving|December 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • What should have been a moment of reckoning for a selfish, serial liar instead ended with us pitying him.

    The Walking Dead’s ‘Self Help’: A Grim Show Displays Its Comedy Streak, and A Major Reveal|Melissa Leon|November 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • What if an affair is a process of positive self-discovery rather than selfish carnal impulses?

    Why You’re Happily Married and Having an Affair|Ryan Selzer|November 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • His ambition is a purely selfish one, while mine is distinctly benevolent.

    The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills

  • No, no,” added Mr. Pickwick more cheerfully, “it would be selfish and ungrateful.

    The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, v. 2(of 2)|Charles Dickens

  • One would imagine, to hear these (p. 171) people talk, that smoking was the only selfish indulgence in the world.

    Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce|E. R. Billings.

  • "I fear, for my part, it is only a very selfish pleasure," he said a trifle unctuously.

    Three More John Silence Stories|Algernon Blackwood

  • Let no opportunity be missed of exposing the true character of the vile and selfish agitators of the Anti-corn-law league.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXIX. January, 1844. Vol. LV.|Various

British Dictionary definitions for selfish


/ (ˈsɛlfɪʃ) /


chiefly concerned with one's own interest, advantage, etc, esp to the total exclusion of the interests of others

relating to or characterized by self-interest

Derived forms of selfish

selfishly, adverbselfishness, 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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Egoists are people who care only about themselves, think about satisfying their own needs only. nine0185

It is very difficult to interact, make friends with such an individual, because he ignores the requests of others, does not think about how they feel good about themselves.

At the very beginning of communication, sometimes it is impossible to understand that a person is selfish. This becomes clear only over time, when relationships develop, when common deeds, plans, goals appear.

In order not to lose time, not to contact an egoist, thereby harming oneself, a person must be able to recognize someone who is indifferent to the feelings of others. He can do this if he pays attention to the words uttered by the interlocutor. Egoists very often utter several phrases. nine0011

I want

With this phrase, a selfish person voices his desires, preferences. It seems to him that those around him should do everything he says, do everything the way he planned.

You owe everything to the Egoist. He will constantly remind people of this, reproach them for not fulfilling their obligations. Such an individual can come to the boss, demand a promotion, referring to the fact that he does not spare himself at work, he tries his best. nine0011

This does not suit me

A selfish person will not tolerate discomfort for a minute. He won't stand in line with the others. The egoist will prefer to break into the office with the first cunning, deceit. He will take two parking spaces at once, without thinking that other motorists also need to stand somewhere. The egoist will go around the traffic jam on the side of the road, because it is not his status to waste his time waiting.

Don't criticize me

A selfish person can't stand remarks and criticism. If an egoist is pointed out to shortcomings in his work, to a stain on his shirt, then in response you can hear a huge number of unflattering words and insults. The egoist will try to present the interlocutor not in the best light, so as not to be criticized. nine0011

Look at my jacket

Egoists love compliments. To get them constantly, they will run up against them, draw the attention of others to changes in their appearance, thereby demanding praise. When compliments are given, the selfish person will enjoy them. When they finish enough, they start talking about other people's problems, the egoist will interrupt the conversation.

Do what I say

Selfish individuals like to command. They consider their point of view to be the only true one, therefore they demand that others listen to them. An egoist can take leadership positions, but it will be very difficult for the team to work with him. nine0011

Did you say anything about it?

An egoist can listen to an interlocutor out of courtesy, but everything he says will be forgotten very quickly. There is no carelessness here. This happens because the selfish individual thinks only about how to show himself in a favorable light, how to get the best possible result with the minimum amount of effort.

I am sure

An individual who is selfish often talks about himself. In his speech there is only the pronoun "I". Such behavior annoys people, because no one wants to constantly talk about the same person. nine0011

You don't think about me

Everyone should think about a selfish person, everyone should satisfy his needs, take care of him. That's what the egoist thinks. He must always make a choice, he must manage other people's time. The use of this phrase confirms this.

If one of the above phrases once flashed in a conversation, then this does not mean anything. But if a person constantly repeats all the above expressions, then we can conclude that egoism is inherent in him. nine0011

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Author: Sergey Tumanov

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