- devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
- characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.
- chiefly concerned with one’s own interest, advantage, etc, esp to the total exclusion of the interests of others
- relating to or characterized by self-interest
adj.1630s, from self- + -ish. Said in Hacket’s life of Archbishop Williams (1693) to have been coined by Presbyterians. In the 17c., synonyms included self-seeking (1620s), self-ended and self-ful. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs. [Richard Dawkins, “The Selfish Gene,” 1976] Related: Selfishly; selfishness. Cf. similar formations in German selbstisch, Swedish sjelfvisk, Danish selvisk.