self S2 W3 /self/ BrE AmE noun ( plural selves /selvz/)
[ Language: Old English ]
1 . [countable usually singular] the type of person you are, your character, your typical behaviour etc
sb’s usual/normal self
Sid was not his usual smiling self.
be/look/feel (like) your old self (=be the way you usually are again, especially after having been ill, unhappy etc)
Jim was beginning to feel like his old self again.
sb’s true/real self (=what someone is really like, rather than what they pretend to be like)
Peter was the only one to whom she showed her true self.
2 . sb’s sense of self someone’s idea that they are a separate person, different from other people:
a child’s developing sense of self
3 . be a shadow/ghost of your former self to not be as healthy, strong etc as you used to be
4 . [uncountable] a word written in business letters, on cheques etc meaning yourself:
a cheque written to self
5 . [countable] used to refer to a person:
a picture of a journalist and your good self (=you)
• • •
▪ your normal/usual self
When she came home at Christmas she seemed very quiet and not her normal self.
▪ your old self (=the way you were before an illness or other change)
He sounded more like his old self than the last time she had called.
▪ your true/real self (=your real character)
At last he had revealed his true self.
▪ your inner self (=your real character or feelings that are usually hidden from other people)
Over the years she had put up barriers to protect her inner self.