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From Middle English theimself. Equivalent to them +‎ -self.




  1. The reflexive form of they, the third-person singular personal pronoun. The single person previously mentioned, as the object of a verb or following a preposition (also used for emphasis).
    Someone could hurt themself.
    Anyone who wants a car like mine can buy one themself.
    • 2009 January 8, Samantha Maiden, “Hoaxer, out yourself: 'Demidenko'”, in The Australian[1]:
      THE author who masqueraded as Helen Demidenko yesterday urged the hoaxer who deceived the respected right-wing journal Quadrant to unmask themself.
    • 2013 January 8, John Stoltenberg, Gonerz:
      ... somedays there will be an odd number of quadders and so somebody might have to sit by themself in the back.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The use of themself instead of themselves is sometimes proscribed,[1] but it is relatively common "considering that singular they is unquestionably far less frequent than plural they".[2] Furthermore, the use of themself as a singular and themselves as a plural is in "clear parallel [to] common usage of the second-person forms, where yourselves can be contrasted with yourself."[3] Note, moreover, that the same is true in the first person, where ourselves contrasts with ourself.
  • For more on the use of they as a singular pronoun, see they.
  • For information on the use of he and himself as a generic singular pronoun, see he.



  1. ^ Carl W. Hart, Rocket English Grammar (2012, ISBN 1938690214, page 55
  2. ^ Grammar Without Grammaticality: Growth and Limits of Grammatical Precision (2013, ISBN 3110290014, page 56
  3. ^ Laura Paterson, British Pronoun Use, Prescription, and Processing (2014, ISBN 1137332735, page 170