Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state of having a distinct identity; individuality.
  • n. The fully developed self; an achieved personality.
  • n. Self-centeredness: "the cult of selfhood that became fashionable in the 1960s” ( David Rankin).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. State of having a distinct identity, or being an individual distinct from others; individuality.
  • n. The fully developed self; one's personality, character.
  • n. The quality of being self-centered or egocentric; selfishness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Existence as a separate self, or independent person; conscious personality; individuality.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The mode of being of an individual person; independent existence; personality.

Etymologies

Translation of German Meinheit : mein, my, mine + -heit, n. suff.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From self +‎ -hood. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The passage of our self is through its selfhood, which is independent, to its attainment of soul, which is harmonious.

    Sadhana : the realisation of life

  • Such a misapprehension is perhaps especially acute when the character in question is presumed to be more or less autobiographical, but even characters not immediately associated with the writer him/herself are, if Zadie Smith is to be believed, mostly an opportunity for the author to indulge in "the attempted revelation of [an] elusive, multifaceted self" -- that is, his or her own "selfhood," the "development" of which is central to the act of writing.

    Point of View in Fiction

  • Like one giant assembly line of "selfhood," our media and culture churn out icons at a steady pace, each one mirroring a common need to be recognized, respected, understood, successful and loved.

    Alison Rose Levy: The Dalai Lama Does Not Exist and Neither Do I

  • One might usefully view the emergence of psychology itself as torn between a science of mental control and objectification, and a utopian attempt to preserve an idealised model of selfhood which is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve or extend through the broadening political population, but which can be installed within the individual at an abstract or theoretical level.

    Psychology in Search of Psyches: Friedrich Schelling, Gotthilf Schubert and the Obscurities of the Romantic Soul

  • For everyone other than the schizophrenic, signs and desires have meaning only as they function within a social or cultural system and only as one is able to assimilate one's interior "selfhood" with that system.

    Wandering in the Landscape with Wordsworth and Deleuze

  • What is peculiar about what is referred to as ethnicity among both is that neither is an assertive identity of "selfhood".

    The National Question in a democratic South Africa

  • What is peculiar about both is that neither is an assertive identity of "selfhood".

    The National Question in Post 1994 South Africa.

  • The awareness of this kind of selfhood, this personal self, is like looking at one's reflection in the mirror and saying, "Ah, I have on a becoming attire," or "my face looks sickly to-day."

    Cosmic Consciousness

  • Since this alone of all that you call your "selfhood" is possessed of eternal reality, it is surely a counsel of prudence to acquaint yourself with its peculiarities and its powers.

    Practical Mysticism

  • "One must die for another through all eternity"; only thus can the bonds of "selfhood" be broken.

    Mysticism in English Literature

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