from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The doctrine that human behavior is motivated by self-interest.
  • noun The belief that self-interest provides the proper basis for moral behavior.
  • noun Egotism; conceit. synonym: conceit.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The habit of valuing everything only in reference to one's personal interest; pure selfishness or exclusive reference to self as an element of character.
  • noun In ethics, the doing or seeking of that which affords pleasure or advantage to one's self, in distinction to that which affords pleasure or advantage to others: opposed to altruism. In this sense the term does not necessarily imply anything reprehensible, and is not synonymous with egotism.
  • noun In metaphysics, the opinion that no matter exists and only one mind, that of the individual holding the opinion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Philos.) The doctrine of certain extreme adherents or disciples of Descartes and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, which finds all the elements of knowledge in the ego and the relations which it implies or provides for.
  • noun Excessive love and thought of self; the habit of regarding one's self as the center of every interest; selfishness; -- opposed to altruism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The tendency to think of self and self-interest.
  • noun ethics The belief that moral behavior should be directed toward one's self-interest.
  • noun nonstandard, by confusion of the similar words egotism

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (ethics) the theory that the pursuit of your own welfare in the basis of morality
  • noun concern for your own interests and welfare


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

ego +‎ -ism.


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  • People tend to cheat more if their egoism is very high or very low.

    EXTRALIFE – By Scott Johnson - Brilliant and very interesting talk about moral code and cheating

  • To explain what he meant by 'moral Communism' Matsuoko cited his own family, but said the Japanese concept of moral Communism had been overwhelmed by liberalism, individualism and egoism from the West.

    When Ayn Rand Villains Ruled the Earth, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • The triumph of Nietzschean philosophical egoism is why people more and more start sentences saying "I feel that ...." instead of "I think that ..."

    July 1st, 2009

  • Any society which explains itself in terms of mutual egoism is heading for certain destruction.

    Matthew Yglesias » Before There Was Early Rawls…

  • I have been judged to be a pessimist but what abyss of ignorance and low egoism is not hidden in one who thinks that Man is the god of himself and that his future can only be triumphant?

    Eugenio Montale - Banquet Speech

  • Ethical egoism is not assumed by Rawls, even if self-interest and reciprocity play important conceptual roles in getting Rawls’s liberal project off the ground.

    Matthew Yglesias » Before There Was Early Rawls…

  • When, at length, after much heartburning and conscientious scrupling, he was mastered by a healthier spirit of self-assertion, which made him rebel against the uselessness of the conflict, and doggedly resolve to put an end to it, he was only enabled to stand firm by summoning to his aid all the strengthening egoism, which is latent in every more or less artistic nature.

    Maurice Guest

  • They have torn the soul of Christ into silly strips, labelled egoism and altruism, and they are equally puzzled by His insane magnificence and His insane meekness.


  • We are not speaking here of mere egoism, which is a species of acknowledgment of weakness that very young children are incapable of making to themselves, but which those who are older will try to avoid.

    Poise: How to Attain It

  • But Gaspare had effectually changed her mood, had driven away what she chose to call her egoism, had concentrated all her thoughts on Vere.

    A Spirit in Prison


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  • "Freedom" awakens your rage against everything that is not you; "egoism" calls you to joy over yourselves, to self-enjoyment.

    March 17, 2009