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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[1], London: Thomas Newberry, page 324:
      [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.
    • 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “In which Challenger Meets a Strange Colleague”, in The Land of Mist (eBook no. 0601351h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, published April 2019:
      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, editor, The Mortal Coil and Other Stories[2], Penguin, published 1971, pages 84–85:
      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, chapter 8, in Wizard of the Crow[3], New York: Pantheon, page 231:
      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.
    • 2023 September 18, Zoe Williams, “The booing of the national anthem shows the vulnerability of King Charles’s reign”, in The Guardian[4], →ISSN:
      He [King Charles] lacks, too, that aura of self-abnegation, of having surrendered himself to duty.
  2. (countable) An act of self-denial.
    • 1879, Herbert Spencer, chapter 14, in The Data of Ethics[5], New York: Hurst, page 292:
      [] 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, chapter 4, in The Vanishing Point[6], New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, page 149:
      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, editor, The Critical Response to Andy Warhol[7], Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, published 1997, page 196:
      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]