Definitions

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

  • pro. That one identical with her:
  • pro. Used reflexively as the direct or indirect object of a verb or as the object of a preposition: She bought herself a new car. She sculpted a likeness of herself.
  • pro. Used for emphasis: She herself was certain of the facts.
  • pro. Used in an absolute construction: In office herself, she helped him get a job.
  • pro. Her normal or healthy condition or state: She's feeling herself again.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • pro. her; the female object of a verb or preposition that also appears as the subject
  • pro. she; an intensive repetition of the female subject, often used to indicate the exclusiveness of that person as the only satisfier of the predicate
  • pro. A self-important female

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pro. An emphasized form of the third person feminine pronoun; -- used as a subject with she; ; also used alone in the predicate, either in the nominative or objective case
  • pro. Her own proper, true, or real character; hence, her right, or sane, mind

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An emphasized or reflexive form of the third personal pronoun, feminine, corresponding in all uses to himself.

Etymologies

Middle English hire self, from Old English hire selfre, dative of hēo self : hēo, she; see she + self, self; see self.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • An Irish paper, in noticing a coroner's inquest on a young woman who had drowned herself, says, the jury, after an hour's deliberation, brought in a verdict of _wilful murder against herself_.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 274, September 22, 1827

  • Even Minna in misfortune would have allowed herself to be persuaded either to increase or to assuage the misfortune of her friend through herself….

    Act V. Scene IX

  • After that perhaps you won't believe that our neighbour, Madame Tchepuz, Elena Antonovna, told me herself, mind _herself_, that she had murdered her nephew? '

    Rudin

  • Henry, when the little girl held the geraniums up to him, observed, that the back of her hand was bruised and black; he asked her how she had hurt herself, and she replied innocently, "that she had not hurt _herself_, but that her schoolmistress was a very _strict_ woman."

    Tales and Novels — Volume 01

  • The furnishing of the house Mrs. Bettesworth took upon herself; and Sally _took upon herself_ to find fault with every article that her mother bought.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 02

  • - Mrs. Milles flatters herself falsely; it has never been Mrs. Rice's wish to have her son settled near herself-& there is now a hope entertained of her relenting in favour of Deane.

    Jane Austen's Letters To Her Sister Cassandra and Others

  • V. v.220 (297,9) the temple/Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself] That is, She was not only _the temple of virtue_, but _virtue herself_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • It may well be that Nurse Chaplin herself is amongst those for whom the symbol does not represent an opposition to our very way of life.

    Archive 2010-03-01

  • I guess Palin herself is sexist since she willingly posed for that shot.

    Palin slams 'sexist' Newsweek cover

  • She says she thinks people who call her a chav are "racist" but uses the word herself all the time.

    Lauren Socha: the Misfit who made it

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