How To Use The Prefix Self

There are many words which start with the prefix “self”.

We use the prefix “self” before nouns and adjectives, and it means “related to yourself” or “related to itself”. For example, “self-care” means “taking care of yourself”.

Here are 30 expressions with the prefix “self”.

Words with “self” in the news

Self-isolate and self-isolation mean “to quarantine yourself” – that is, to stay at home for a period of time, so that you don’t pass on the coronavirus.

“Visitors from affected areas should self-isolate for 14 days.”

Positive words that start with “self”

self-aware / self-awareness = when you understand yourself
“Their children are very self-aware and they seem to understand when they’ve made a mistake.”

self-care = when you look after yourself (often your emotions / work-life balance, etc)
“We should always practise self-care to make sure that we don’t burn out.”

self-control = when you can stay calm or sensible
“I can never say “no” to chocolate. I have absolutely no self-control!”

self-confident = when you are confident in yourself
“He suffers from a lack of self-confidence, but I’m sure this will change when he goes to university.”

self-esteem = when you are happy with your abilities
“Captaining a sports team is good for your self-esteem.”

self-help (book) = a type of book that helps you become a better person in some way
“The publishing company specialises in self-help books.”

self-made = when you are successful because of what you did – not because of inherited wealth
“He’s a self-made millionaire.”

self-respect = when you respect yourself (and have high standards)
“You shouldn’t waste any more time on him. Where’s your self-respect?”

self-starter = someone who can work on their own without someone telling them what to do
“They ask for a self-starter in the job description. I think you’d be perfect for the job!”

Negative words that start with “self”

self-centred = when you only think about yourself
“He’s so self-centred – he never considers anybody else and what they might want!”

self-conscious = when you feel embarrassed about yourself
“She has a spot on her nose and she’s very self-conscious about it.”

self-doubt = when you doubt your own skills or capabilities
“When she was younger, she was filled with self-doubt, but now she’s a little more confident.”

self-harm / self-harming = when you hurt yourself
“Patients at risk of self-harming are seen more quickly.”

self-pity = when you feel sorry for yourself
“I’ve had enough of your self-pity! You’re so much luckier than most people!”

Other words that start with “self”

self-access = where you can choose your own books to study from
“The university has set up a self-access centre for language students.”

self-addressed envelope = an envelope where the address has already been written
“Please send the completed form back in the self-addressed envelope.”

self-build = a type of house that someone builds themselves
“We decided to go for a self-build because we wanted our own design.”

self-catering = a type of accommodation or holiday where you cook your own food
“We’re staying in a self-catering caravan in France.”

self-cleaning = a machine (like an oven) that can clean itself
“I’ve always wanted a self-cleaning oven.”

self-contained (flat) = a flat with its own kitchen and bathroom
“We built on a self-contained flat for my mother, so that she could live with us but still be independent.”

self-defence = when you fight to defend yourself (not to attack)
“They said he was acting in self-defence, so he didn’t go to prison.”

self-employed = when you work for yourself
“He set up as a self-employed builder five years ago.”

self-explanatory = when something doesn’t need any more explanation
“The instructions on the box were self-explanatory.”

self-isolate = when you stay at home so you can’t transmit an illness
“They should self-isolate if they’ve just come back from an area with the virus.”

self-portrait = a drawing or painting of yourself
“What a beautiful self-portrait!”

self-rule = when a country is ruled by its own citizens
“People here want self-rule. They’re sick of being governed by others.”

self-service = where you serve yourself (to petrol, food etc) and then pay later
“All petrol stations are self-service here.”

self-study = when you study on your own, without a teacher
“This is a self-study program.”

self-sufficient = when you don’t need to rely on other people for things
“They grow all their own vegetables and are almost self-sufficient.”

self-taught = when you teach yourself something
“He’s a great artist, and he’s completely self-taught.”


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How To Use The Prefix Self
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