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

  • n. Full presence of mind; self-confidence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The conscious control of one's own behaviour

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Control over one's own feelings, temper, etc.; self-control.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That equanimity which enables one in any situation to be reasonable and prudent, and to do what the circumstances require; self-control.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • David Ramsay, a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress, warned that “the temptations to drunkenness are so great and so common, as partly resulting from the climate, that great self-command, prudence and fortitude, and a strict discipline of the passions and appetites, are absolutely necessary to maintain the empire of reason over sense.”

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • I was young then and it would be pleasant to think that now that I am old I am wise and have developed more strength of character and an iron-willed self-command.

    Lance Mannion:

  • The intimate contest for self-command never ends, and lifetime happiness requires finding the right balance between present impulses and future well-being.

    The Gift-Card Economy

  • The intimate contest for self-command can apply to pleasures as well, and for similar reasons.

    The Gift-Card Economy

  • Behavioral economists, whose work combines the techniques and ideas of economics and psychology, have long focused on what Thomas Schelling, the 2005 Nobel laureate, called the “intimate contest for self-command” — the all-too-familiar inner conflict between the would-be disciplined self who wants to get up early, exercise, and lose weight and the pleasure-seeking self who prefers to sleep in, watch TV, and eat chocolate.

    The Gift-Card Economy

  • I was aware also that I should often lose all self-command, all capacity of hiding the harrowing sensations that would possess me during the progress of my unearthly occupation.

    Chapter 18

  • Though Odysseus does occasionally yield to temptation — his interlude with Circe is one example — he mastered enough self-command to return to Ithaca.

    Saying Yes to Saying No

  • Readers may be less able to resist thinking of Odysseus' faithful wife, Penelope, as an even better exemplar of self-command.

    Saying Yes to Saying No

  • Education and other forms of enculturation are a way of endowing one of your selves social capital, so that it can prevail more frequently in that intimate contest for self-command.

    Education Signaling: Is Entrepreneurship a Solution?, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Sue Storm and her family would probably have been exposed to a lot of flame retardants around the house, particularly since her brother Johnny’s signature superpower was being able to burst into flame, on self-command “Flame On!

    Sarah Janssen: Jessica Alba: Super Mom


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