English

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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From self +‎ -ish. Compare Danish selvisk (selfish), Swedish självisk (selfish).

Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /ˈsɛlf.ɪʃ/, [ˈsɛɫ̥fɪʃ]
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛlfɪʃ

Adjective

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selfish (comparative more selfish or (proscribed) selfisher, superlative most selfish or (proscribed) selfishest)

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    2=It isn't clear what exactly distinguishes this sense from the second sense.
    Please see Module:checkparams for help with this warning.
    (clarification of this definition is needed)(The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought:) Holding one's own self-interest as the standard for decision making.
    • 1997, John Peniel, chapter 10, in The Children Of The Law Of One & The Lost Teachings Of Atlantis, page 127:
      “We all have both a selfish separate self, and an Inner Being that is One with the Universal Spirit. In this sense, every human has a sort of ‘split personality’. We are all kind of what you call ‘schitzy’ with these two sides, these two people living within us. And they are in total opposition. The free will dictates which of these two sides will have its way in our life, at every given moment.”
  2. Having regard for oneself above others’ well-being.
  3. (video games) Of video game characters: relying on their own actions and capabilities to be effective in the game, rather than on other characters.
    • 2021, Sid Natividad, Thegamer[1]:
      With that said, there is a perk to Xiao being a selfish DPS. He plays like Razor where he needs to be out in the field more than 90 percent of the time. Compared to Diluc, Xiao is more independent when it comes to dealing damage.
  4. (biology) Related to or equivalent to a selfish gene; best understood as existing to preserve and replicate itself in competition with other entities at the same level of existence, rather than at the level of the individual or population containing it.
    • 2005, N.S. Sharma, Molecular Structure Of Genes And Chromosomes, Mittal Publications, →ISBN, page 215:
      Discoveries of selfish genetic elements often follow from the emergence of a selfish phenotype either in a cross between members of closely related species, or in crosses involving individuals from different isolated populations within a species.
    • 2005 August 4, Robert Desharnais, Population Dynamics and Laboratory Ecology, Elsevier, →ISBN, page 321:
      Through this hypothesized mechanism, a selfish virus would reduce the probability that other co-infecting genotypes contribute the expected share of their genes to the progeny.
    • 2011 February 15, Richard Brodie, Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme, Hay House, Inc, →ISBN, page 68:
      The "selfish meme" concept does not, of course, ascribe any consciousness or motivation to the meme; it simply means we can understand better by looking at evolution from the meme's point of view.

Usage notes

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  • Said of people and their thoughts and actions, such as motives, desires, acts.

Synonyms

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Antonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also

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Anagrams

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