Definition of itself in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɪtˈsɛlf/


[third person singular]
1 [reflexive] Used as the object of a verb or preposition to refer to a thing or animal previously mentioned as the subject of the clause: his horse hurt itself the company has established itself as a leader in the field
More example sentences
  • All of this means that SAS could find itself subject to a bid from a bigger rival.
  • It has hurt itself financially, and the turn to the Right in this country is very serious.
  • As dawn was beginning to show itself, the horse stopped and refused to walk any further.
2 [emphatic] Used to emphasize a particular thing or animal mentioned: the roots are several inches long, though the plant itself is only a foot tall
More example sentences
  • That memorial itself will be the subject of a separate international competition.
  • The very existence of the subject itself already imposes a terrible ethical burden.
  • In any event certainty is best achieved by express words in the arbitration clause itself.
2.1Used after a quality to emphasize what a perfect example of that quality someone or something is: Mrs Vincent was kindness itself
More example sentences
  • They are wonderful reminders of the enduring mystery and magic that is childhood itself.



by itself

see by oneself at by.

in itself

Viewed in its essential qualities; considered separately from other things: some would say bringing up a family was a full-time job in itself
More example sentences
  • That almost seems a job in itself - I hope you get out of the morass of paperwork soon.
  • Kant was clearly of the view that majority voting does not in itself produce legitimate law.
  • That in itself is not sufficient, in our view, to give rise to a special removal situation.


Old English (see it1, self).

Words that rhyme with itself

elf, herself, himself, myself, oneself, ourself, self, shelf, themself, thyself, yourself

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: it¦self

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.