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

  • n. The act or an instance of helping or improving oneself without assistance from others.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the practice of bettering oneself without relying on the assistance of others.
  • n. an act of redressing or preventing a wrong by one's own actions rather than through legal proceedings

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. of, pertaining to, or useful for the process of developing one's capabilities or solving one's problems.
  • n. The act of aiding one's self, without depending on the aid of others.
  • n. The right or fact of redressing or preventing wrongs by one's own action without recourse to legal proceedings, as in self-defense, distress, abatement of a nuisance, etc.
  • n. developing one's capabilities or solving one's own problems, especially psychological problems, without the assistance of a professional, by independent study or by association with other individuals having similar interests.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Working for one's self without assistance from others.

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

  • n. the act of helping or improving yourself without relying on anyone else


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It's a promising thought, but to place this book in the rubric of self-help would be to mistake Kahneman-who lived for several years in Nazi-occupied France-for a benighted optimist.

    Slate Articles

  • Here, they're all playing nicely at moguldom and at mentoring, professing a commitment to nurturing talent and using the term "support system" in a way that splits the difference between the jargon of self-help and the language of networking.

    Slate Magazine

  • Talk to your doctor, or call a self-help group such as Alcoholics Anonymous see Resources or check in your local yellow pages.


  • It is benefiting from what the City calls "self-help" measures, which don't depend on the economic climate. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Supreme Court orders Google Australia to release details of creators of website labelling self-help guru Jamie McIntyre a 'thieving scumbag' INTERNET giant Google has lost a landmark legal battle that is expected to open the floodgates to online litigation against anonymous online commentators. | Top Stories

  • The 25-year-old's lyric book is a 5,000-word self-help seminar, brimming with affirmation and possibility.

    The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines - The Washington Post

  • While a district may be required to offer remedial support to teachers after a first ineffective rating, this must primarily entail self-help.

    NYDN Rss

  • Warren carries a thin Bible as he moves to and from the podium, but never opens it during the sermon, which feels very much like a self-help seminar.

    American Grace

  • The 2006 Faith Matters survey asked respondents to indicate whether they belong to a wide array of groups: from hobby groups to professional associations to self-help programs.

    American Grace

  • As Horowitz puts it, “In numerous unexamined ways, the budget studies” undertaken by progressives “attacked immigrant and working-class culture, hoping to replace it with the bourgeois emphasis on self-help and personal discipline.”

    A Renegade History of the United States


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