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

  • n. Control of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own will: "You think yourself a miracle of sensibility; but self-control is what you need” ( Mary Boykin Chesnut).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The ability to control one's desires and impulses; willpower.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Control of one's self; restraint exercised over one's self; self-command.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Self-command; self-restraint.

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

  • n. the trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior
  • n. the act of denying yourself; controlling your impulses


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

self- +‎ control


  • Recent research suggests that "Willpower" may exacerbate the very problem it is trying to reduce by promoting the idea of self-control as a limited resource.

    The Will in the World

  • Kerby Miller, the leading historian of Irish emigrants to North America, notes that Catholic discipline easily merged with American demands: “church teachings, as reflected in sermons and parochial school readers, commanded emigrants and their children to industry, thrift, sobriety, and self-control—habits which would not only prevent spiritual ruin but also shape good citizens and successful businessmen.”

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • The “wild Irish” were “unstable as water,” while the English exemplified order and self-control.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • Dancers were allowed only to exhibit “self-control and self-government” in their movements.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • So the Founding Fathers redefined freedom as self-control and built a political system around it called democracy.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • Sometimes it takes all my resolution and power of self-control to restrain myself from butting my head against the wall.

    Paying Attention « Tales from the Reading Room

  • It takes way more self-control to get me to the gym than it does even to get me past a blank page, so you have my complete admiration.

    Paying Attention « Tales from the Reading Room

  • Do we as a species have the political will to exercise self-control and to show a bit of humility?

    David B. Williams: Restraint and Hope: Lessons From Lake Baikal and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  • Indeed, Akst betrays a certain contempt for modern science and its insights into self-restraint, as revealed by this statement: "I discovered that the very best guides to weakness of the will held no tenure, had no graduate degrees, and dealt with the problem of self-control without magnetic resonance imaging devices for peering into the skulls of undergraduates."

    You are not the boss of you

  • Akst's tour through Homer and Aristotle and Plato and Socrates is fairly entertaining, but one doesn't come away with much that's helpful in dealing with the dilemma of self-control.

    You are not the boss of you


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  • "We trudge around the streets looking for a reasonable cafe. We find one on a wide one-time populous street, now rather run down, on it is a Trattoria Tuscano, 'Allied Soldiers Welcomes'. Inside, about twelve tables, all covered in white paper, sparsely laid out with cutlery. A few tables are occupied by what look like potential Mafia recruits, all huddled over their tables talking in low voices, an act of great self-control for Italians."

    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall.'

    April 18, 2009