self-interest 1640s, from SELF (Cf. self) + INTEREST (Cf. interest) (q.v.).
[Self-interest] is a doctrine not very lofty, but clear and sure. It does not seek to attain great objects; but it attains those it aims for without too much effort. ... [It] does not produce great devotion; but it suggests little sacrifices each day; by itself it cannot make a man virtuous; but it forms a multitude of citizens who are regulated, temperate, moderate, farsighted, masters of themselves; and if it does not lead directly to virtue through the will, it brings them near to it insensibly through habits. [Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • self-interest — UK US /ˌselfˈɪntrəst/ noun [U] ► a situation in which you consider the advantage to yourself when making decisions, and decide to do what is best for you: »be driven/motivated by self interest out of self interest »Some financial companies argue …   Financial and business terms

  • Self-interest — Self in ter*est, n. Private interest; the interest or advantage of one s self. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Self-interest — can refer to any of the following concepts:*Egoism *Selfishness *Ethical egoism *Psychological egoism *Individualism *Objectivist ethics *Hedonism *Epicureanism *Enlightened self interest *Indirect self interest …   Wikipedia

  • self-interest — noun uncount interest in yourself and how to gain advantages for yourself, often without considering other people: decisions motivated solely by self interest ╾ ,self interested adjective …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • self-interest — n [U] when you only care about what is best for you, and do not care about what is best for other people ▪ His offer was motivated solely by self interest. >self interested adj …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • self-interest — [self′in′trist, self′in′tər ist] n. 1. one s own interest or advantage 2. an exaggerated regard for this, esp. when at the expense of others …   English World dictionary

  • self-interest — ► NOUN ▪ one s personal interest or advantage, especially when pursued without regard for others. DERIVATIVES self interested adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • self-interest — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ enlightened, rational ▪ economic, material ▪ individual, national ▪ naked, pure …   Collocations dictionary

  • self-interest — n. 1) enlightened self interest 2) in one s own self interest * * * [ˌself ɪntrɪst] enlightenedself interest in one s own self interest …   Combinatory dictionary

  • self-interest — noun Date: 1649 1. a concern for one s own advantage and well being < acted out of self interest and fear > 2. one s own interest or advantage < self interest requires that we be generous in foreign aid > • self interested adjective • self… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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