Definition of self-harm in English:

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Pronunciation: /sɛlfˈhɑːm/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


[mass noun]
Deliberate injury to oneself, typically as a manifestation of a psychological or psychiatric disorder.
Example sentences
  • ‘Wayne died from deliberate self-harm while the balance of his mind was disturbed,’ he said.
  • The incidences of self-harm, eating disorders, and even suicide among young people in schools and colleges is evidence of the emotional burden imposed by a society which often seems to demand too much of them.
  • He has no history of self-harm, eating disorder, alcohol/drug dependency or misuse.


[no object]
Commit self-harm.
Example sentences
  • In the first chain analysis Rachel self-harmed in response to thinking she was not slim or beautiful enough (which linked to her core-belief of being unlovable and therefore being rejected).
  • I have no doubt at all that it was by reason of his depressive illness that he self-harmed.
  • Some are learning how to deal with incontinence and give injections and tube feeds, or coping with a parent who overdoses or self-harms.



Example sentences
  • Research conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found some self-harmers received a poor standard of care than other patients, including examples of people having wounds stitched without anaesthetic.
  • However, her other main argument, which while not explicitly stated (as I recall) but very heavily implied, was that self-harmers are invariably victims of childhood abuse, which I wasn't.
  • A small number of dedicated and repeated self-harmers have, in the past, sent the statistics through the roof.
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