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self- +‎ abnegation


self-abnegation (countable and uncountable, plural self-abnegations)

  1. The denial or invalidation of one's own needs, interests, etc. for the sake of another's; the setting aside of self-interest.
    Synonyms: self-denial, self-sacrifice
    • 1656, Edward Reyner, Rules for the Government of the Tongue, London: Thomas Newberry, p. 324,[1]
      [Self commendation] should bee accompanied with Self-abnegation, or a renouncing of all Self-conceit, Self-sufficiency, Self seeking, or Self worthiness; to prick the bladder of pride in us.
    • 1926, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist, New York: A. L. Burt, Chapter 14, p. 239,[2]
      You understand, of course, that it is only by serving and self-abnegation that we advance in the higher world."
    • 1934, D. H. Lawrence, “The Old Adam” in Keith Sagar (ed.), The Mortal Coil and Other Stories, Penguin, 1971, pp. 84-85,[3]
      She must no longer allow herself to hope for anything for herself. The rest of her life must be spent in self-abnegation: she must seek for no sympathy, must ask for no grace in love, no grace and harmony in living. Henceforward, as far as her own desires went, she was dead.
    • 2006, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Wizard of the Crow, New York: Pantheon, Chapter 8, p. 231,[4]
      The problem was that the Ruler never let anyone know what was expected of him to retain his place of honor. Even humility and self-abnegation, however abject, were not enough to prevent one’s downfall.
  2. (countable) An act of self-denial.
    • 1879, Herbert Spencer, The Data of Ethics, New York: Hurst, Chapter 14, p. 292,[5]
      [] self-abnegations often repeated imply on the part of the actor a tacit ascription of relative selfishness to others who profit by the self-abnegations.
    • 1922, Coningsby Dawson, The Vanishing Point, New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, Chapter 4, p. 149,[6]
      There was something monstrous about his self-abnegations. Perhaps he denied himself the things for which he did not care. He wanted to seem nobler than any one else.
    • 1989, John Updike, “Fast Art” in Alan R. Pratt (ed.), The Critical Response to Andy Warhol, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997, p. 196,[7]
      In one of his first self-abnegations he [Andy Warhol] induced her [his mother] to sign his works, and write his captions, in her own clumsy but clear handwriting.

Related terms[edit]