Definition of SELF-INTEREST


Self-interest is a term that refers to the pursuit of one’s own personal gain, advantage, or well-being, often at the expense of others or without considering their interests. It encompasses several key aspects:

Personal Gain or Benefit: Self-interest involves actions or decisions made with the primary aim of benefiting oneself. Individuals motivated by self-interest prioritize their own needs, desires, and goals above those of others.

Individualistic Outlook: Those driven by self-interest typically adopt an individualistic outlook, focusing on their own success and well-being rather than collective or communal interests. They may pursue opportunities that further their own interests, even if they conflict with the interests of others.

Calculation of Costs and Benefits: Self-interested individuals often weigh the potential costs and benefits of their actions, seeking outcomes that maximize their personal advantage. They may engage in strategic decision-making to optimize outcomes in their favor.

Ethical Considerations: Self-interest may involve pursuing one’s own interests without regard for ethical considerations or moral principles. Individuals driven by self-interest may prioritize personal gain over principles of fairness, justice, or altruism.

In summary, self-interest involves the pursuit of personal gain or advantage, often at the expense of others or without considering their interests. It reflects an individualistic outlook that prioritizes one’s own needs and goals, sometimes at the expense of broader ethical considerations or communal welfare.


The correct term is self-interest, with a hyphen. This is the standard way to write this compound noun, referring to concern for one’s own personal advantage or well-being. The hyphen helps clarify that “self” and “interest” are acting together as a single noun, ensuring clarity in communication.

Use examples of SELF-INTEREST

  • His decisions were motivated solely by self-interest, with little consideration for others.
  • The politician’s actions seemed driven by self-interest rather than genuine concern for the welfare of the people.
  • In negotiations, each party pursued their own self-interest, resulting in a stalemate.
  • She reluctantly admitted that her support for the project was influenced by self-interest rather than a genuine belief in its merit.
  • The company’s executives prioritized their own self-interest over the well-being of their employees.
  • His self-interest blinded him to the ethical implications of his actions.
  • The diplomat’s actions were perceived as serving the interests of their country rather than personal self-interest.
  • It was evident that the CEO’s decisions were driven by self-interest, leading to discontent among employees.


The term self-interest has its etymological roots in English, providing insights into its linguistic origins.

  • Semantic Context: “Self-interest” describes the pursuit of one’s own personal advantage or benefit, often motivated by considerations of one’s own needs, desires, or well-being.
  • Origins in English: The term “self-interest” emerged in the English language, combining “self,” denoting the individual, and “interest,” indicating a concern or stake in something.
  • Cultural Connotations: “Self-interest” carries cultural connotations of individualism, pragmatism, or personal ambition, suggesting a focus on advancing one’s own goals or agenda.
  • Usage in Context: “Self-interest” is commonly used to describe motivations or actions driven by considerations of personal advantage, gain, or benefit, often without regard for the welfare of others or broader social concerns.

The term self-interest reflects its origins in English and its usage to describe the pursuit of personal advantage or benefit, highlighting a focus on advancing one’s own interests or agenda.


  • Personal gain
  • Selfishness
  • Egocentrism
  • Egotism
  • Selfish motive
  • Personal advantage
  • Self-centeredness
  • Individual interest


  • Altruism
  • Selflessness
  • Benevolence
  • Generosity
  • Consideration for others
  • Collective interest
  • Community focus
  • Mutual benefit


  • Personal gain
  • Egocentricity
  • Selfish behavior
  • Egotistical motives
  • Individual advantage
  • Personal agenda
  • Self-serving
  • Personal motives

🌐 🇬🇧 SELF-INTEREST in other languages

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