selbst

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German[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From the Old High German pronoun selb, selbo, from Proto-Germanic *selbaz, from Proto-Indo-European *selbʰ- (one's own), from *s(w)e- (separate, apart). Compare Low German sulv, Dutch zelf, English self, Danish selv.

Pronunciation[edit]

Particle[edit]

selbst

  1. personally, by oneself
    Du hast es selbst zugegeben.
    You yourself admitted it.
    der Mann selbst hat uns es gesagt
    the man himself (personally) told us

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

selbst

  1. even
    Selbst du hast es zugegeben.
    Even you admitted it.

Usage notes[edit]

  • DWDS labels selbst an indeclinable pronoun when it means "personally", and an adverb when it means "even".[1] DWB labeles it a pronoun when it means "personally".[2] The Duden labels it a particle in both senses.[3]
  • Selbst is generally understood to refer to the subject of the clause, whatever its position. Thus ich habe Sandra selbst gefragt means "I myself asked Sandra", and not "I asked Sandra herself". This can only be changed by placing the object at the beginning of the clause: Sandra selbst habe ich gefragt ("Sandra herself [was the one] I asked").

Synonyms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DWDS: selbst
  2. ^ DWB: selbst
  3. ^ duden.de: selbst