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Selfish   Listen
adjective
Selfish  adj.  
1.
Caring supremely or unduly for one's self; regarding one's own comfort, advantage, etc., in disregard, or at the expense, of those of others. "They judge of things according to their own private appetites and selfish passions." "In that throng of selfish hearts untrue."
2.
(Ethics) Believing or teaching that the chief motives of human action are derived from love of self. "Hobbes and the selfish school of philosophers."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Selfish" Quotes from Famous Books



... would not put that in. The girl could not be so selfish as to take advantage of his over-generous impulse. She must understand that his time belonged to the ages and the race, not to the momentary perplexities of a high school dunce.... At the worst it would be only five minutes here and there—say ten minutes ...
— Queed • Henry Sydnor Harrison

... progress in the Christian life or accomplish anything for God, we must have strong aspirations. These are as a spur to our energies. Aspiration is the cure for being "at ease in Zion." Aspirations are good or bad according to the motive that prompts them. Some are essentially selfish, and such are necessarily evil. If we desire to be or do for selfish advantage, for glory and praise; if we aspire to be leaders, as so many religious people do, only that they may have authority or honor—our aspirations are evil. But each one of us owes it to himself and ...
— Heart Talks • Charles Wesley Naylor

... heartless sorceress, gifted and beautiful as she was,—what does she do when she sees her lover dead,—dying for her? Does she share his fate? Not she. What selfish woman ever killed ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume III • John Lord

... I receive such kind letters from you, that I am vexed our intimacy should be reduced almost to those letters. It is selfish to complain, when you give me such good reasons for your system: but I grow old; and the less time we have to live together, the more I feel a separation from a person I love so well; and that reflection furnishes me with arguments in vindication ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole Volume 3 • Horace Walpole

... to send troops from the southern to the northern hemisphere was quite another affair. The thought which inspired that offer could not have arisen from any feeling of selfish interest. It was really the outward sign of the affection and love for the Old Country and home inherited by the colonists. Indeed, the rising Australian generation realized what a glorious and magnificent heritage the Mother Country had so generously and ...
— The Chronicles of a Gay Gordon • Jose Maria Gordon

... deposit and exchange of all the produce of these fisheries on the one hand, and of the productions of Europe, etc. etc. that were necessary for their extension on the other. The advantages that she would have derived from such a selfish arrangement, she wisely foresaw would be more than counterbalanced by the concomitant detriment which her maritime interests would have sustained from it. And hence this deviation from one of the leading objects of her navigation laws, a deviation which has not only been continued ever ...
— Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependent Settlements in Van Diemen's Land • William Charles Wentworth

... Switzerland started as a national and popular movement; in England it began as the act of a despotic sovereign, Henry VIII. This second Tudor [17] was handsome, athletic, finely educated, and very able, but he was also selfish, sensual, and cruel. His father had created a strong monarchy in England by humbling both Parliament and the nobles. When Henry VIII came to the throne, the only serious obstacle in the way of royal absolutism was the ...
— EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY • HUTTON WEBSTER

... can gratify almost any want or desire; and yet when I honestly try to imagine Jesus living the life I have lived and am expected to live, and doing for the rest of my life what thousands of other rich people do, I am under condemnation for being one of the most wicked, selfish, useless creatures in all the world. I have not looked out of this window for weeks without a feeling of horror toward myself as I see the humanity that passes by ...
— In His Steps • Charles M. Sheldon

... to a liberal mind to question the basis of any hope, or to doubt the validity of any expectations, in behalf of our species. One would rather foster a mistaken benevolence, which, scorning selfish interests, embraced the future welfare of distant and unknown people, were it not that the indulgence of them might tend to prevent the very object which they regard from being attained. Does not ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 15 (of 18) • Robert Kerr

... homage with more or less indifference. She did not greatly care for either their praise or blame. Dora possessed in a strong degree that baneful quality, which more than anything else precludes the love of others—she was essentially selfish. ...
— A World of Girls - The Story of a School • L. T. Meade

... this will be a great blow to you, as indeed it was to me; but we must not be selfish, and must remember that the sisters' happiness and welfare is the great point. I wish I could write to you more at length; but time will not let me, scattered as are all my poor flock at home. So I must leave you to learn the bare ...
— Beechcroft at Rockstone • Charlotte M. Yonge

... persuaded her to stay till you were old enough to do without her, and until Aunt Katharine was ready to come to New York and live with us, promising her that when that time came you and I would come over with her, just as we have done, on our way to Paris. We must not be selfish and grudge Marie to her sisters, who have not ...
— Boys and Girls Bookshelf; a Practical Plan of Character Building, Volume I (of 17) - Fun and Thought for Little Folk • Various

... left the room with as much alacrity as if it were to prepare for a foxhunt. Selfish, heartless fool! I have often since heard him spoken of as A CURSED GOOD-NATURED DOG and a D—— GOOD FELLOW; but such eulogies as these are not calculated to mitigate the abhorrence with which his conduct upon that ...
— The Purcell Papers - Volume I. (of III.) • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... into some out-of-the-way place. He remembered how badly Miss Laura felt when Dandy died, and he wanted to spare her the greater sorrow of his death. He was always such a thoughtful dog, and so anxious not to give trouble. I am more selfish. I could not go away from Miss Laura even to die. When my last hour comes, I want to see her gentle face bending over me, and then I shall not ...
— Beautiful Joe - An Autobiography of a Dog • by Marshall Saunders

... I had a long distance to go, over execrable roads, I had intended asking them for a new pair, as they had abundance of everything of the kind sent to them from England, to distribute to the needy (and I fully came under that description of character); but finding them so selfish and cold-hearted, and meeting with one refusal, I refrained, and ...
— A Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in New Zealand in 1827 • Augustus Earle

... of an old man must have much pathos in it, and she who accepts it must deal tenderly with it, even in her moments of disillusion. The elderly rake who buys a young wife from entirely selfish motives will see that he does not lose ...
— The Etiquette of Engagement and Marriage • G. R. M. Devereux

... mean and selfish I am. I am depriving your future bride of the pleasure of furnishing her own house, and that's what all brides like better than anything. But I promise to pick out things that I know she will like. In the meantime, you will be happy in knowing that ...
— Viola Gwyn • George Barr McCutcheon

... that I have writ little more than I have seen. The lawyer is not only alive, but hath been so these four thousand years; and I hope G— will indulge his life as many yet to come. He hath not indeed confined himself to one profession, one religion, or one country; but when the first mean selfish creature appeared on the human stage, who made self the centre of the whole creation, would give himself no pain, incur no danger, advance no money, to assist or preserve his fellow-creatures; then was our lawyer born; and, whilst such a person as I have described exists on earth, ...
— Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 • Henry Fielding

... however, was a very harsh, selfish man; and we always dreaded his return from sea. His wife was herself much afraid of him; and, during his stay at home, seldom dared to shew her usual kindness to the slaves. He often left her, in the most distressed circumstances, to reside in other ...
— The History of Mary Prince - A West Indian Slave • Mary Prince

... house out of which the light has gone—how Esther Lockwin dreads that nightly torment! Shall she linger at the parental home? Is it not the bitterer to feel that here the selfish life grew to the full? Is it not worse than sorrow to discover in this abode the same influences of estrangement? What is David ...
— David Lockwin—The People's Idol • John McGovern

... east, even yet shuddering with the horror of his recent escape from death and filled with disgust at the knowledge that there were people who held human life so lightly that they were willing to destroy it to further their own selfish ends. ...
— The Master Key - An Electrical Fairy Tale • L. Frank Baum

... say that it's me particularly—or that it's you or Charlotte or Amerigo. But we're selfish together—we move as a selfish mass. You see we want always the same thing," he had gone on—"and that holds us, that binds us, together. We want each other," he had further explained; "only wanting it, each time, FOR each ...
— The Golden Bowl • Henry James

... the queen has lost at his hands its poignant tenderness, but Admetus has gained in dignity, and the dramatic movement is much heightened. The realistic visualization of Phers and Erectea, Admetus' selfish parents, the excision of the buffoonery in the rle of Hercules, who restores the queen to life, are excellent adaptations to modern taste. Galds' Alceste, mingling comedy and pathos with singular charm, power, and discretion, must henceforth take its place among superior modern interpretations ...
— Heath's Modern Language Series: Mariucha • Benito Perez Galdos

... proverbial buyer she had the happy feminine tendency of magnifying the worth of her possession as soon as she had acquired it. And Courtenay Youghal gave Elaine some justification for her sense of having chosen wisely. Above all other things, selfish and cynical though he might appear at times, he was unfailingly courteous and considerate towards her. That was a circumstance which would always have carried weight with her in judging any man; in this case its value ...
— The Unbearable Bassington • Saki

... successfully brought about the death of his personal enemy, Salabat Khan, by inducing the Raya to order his execution; an act to, which the king was led by the machinations of the arch-intriguer, who subordinated his chief's interests to his own selfish ends. ...
— A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar; A Contribution to the History of India • Robert Sewell

... knew well enough what old Rehu was. A touchy, selfish man all but a hundred years old, who would have seen them all die rather than deprive himself of a pinch of snuff or a single one of the pins that were always stuck on the lapels of his coat. Ah, poor child! He must be hard up indeed ...
— The Immortal - Or, One Of The "Forty." (L'immortel) - 1877 • Alphonse Daudet

... development of character demands solitude. Give to a young man, genial, impulsive, and intelligent, only the companionship of forest, sea, and mountain, and the chances are, he will become morbid, unpractical, and selfish. But place him in the same position in the decline, or even in the noon of life, when the different parts of his nature have become subordinated to each other, by friction with diverse human organizations about him, and he will carry a brave individuality among nature's gifts, being ...
— Continental Monthly , Vol I, Issue I, January 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... despairingly. "I know well enough, and in my selfish love for her, I am ready to say she must be saved from ...
— The Rajah of Dah • George Manville Fenn

... naturally to piracy, and Great Britain, by securing immunity for her vessels through the payment of tribute, also secured a virtual monopoly of the commerce of the Mediterranean. Her policy was a selfish one, for she believed the United States was too weak to send any effective warships into that part of the world. The story of Tripoli convinced her of the mistake ...
— Dewey and Other Naval Commanders • Edward S. Ellis

... the spirit of our men which led them to endure these things without revolt—ideals higher than the selfish motives of life. They did not fight for greed or glory, not for conquest, nor for vengeance. Hatred was not the inspiration of the mass of them, for I am certain that except in hours when men "see red" there was no direct hatred of the men in the opposite trenches, ...
— Now It Can Be Told • Philip Gibbs

... more? I don't know — I think of your dear circle at home — and though I cannot wish the heaven over your heads to be a whit less bright, I cannot help wishing that you may miss one constellation. You can't have any more than that from poor human nature — selfish in the midst of its best generosity. And yet, mother and Winifred, your faces rise up to shame me; and I must correct my speech and say man's nature; I do believe that some at least of your side of the world are made of ...
— Hills of the Shatemuc • Susan Warner

... is believed that John took him out in a boat in the river at night, stabbed him with his own hand, and threw his body into the river. There was, any way, no doubt that John was guilty of his nephew's death, and he was fully known to be one of the most selfish and cruel men who ever lived; and so lazy, that he let Philip take Normandy from him, without stirring a finger to save the grand old dukedom of his forefathers; so that nothing is left of it to us now but the four little islands, ...
— Young Folks' History of England • Charlotte M. Yonge

... anecdotes, written in the quaint vein of The World's ingenious Fabulist, for the lesson they taught me and the pleasure they gave me. They lay always convenient to my hand, and whenever I thought meanly of my kind I turned to them, and they banished that sentiment; whenever I felt myself to be selfish, sordid, and ignoble I turned to them, and they told me what to do to win back my self-respect. Many times I wished that the charming anecdotes had not stopped with their happy climaxes, but had continued the pleasing ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... himself. The ladies were regretting the death of a friend, to whom they owed great obligations; upon which Reynolds observed, 'You have, however, the comfort of being relieved from a burthen of gratitude.' They were shocked a little at this alleviating suggestion, as too selfish; but Johnson defended it in his clear and forcible manner, and was much pleased with the MIND, the fair view of human nature, which it exhibited, like some of the reflections of Rochefaucault. The consequence was, that he went home with Reynolds, ...
— Life of Johnson - Abridged and Edited, with an Introduction by Charles Grosvenor Osgood • James Boswell

... which condition shall be enabled to make a splendid figure in the world. He is not qualified, because he is an interested party, and, either from an exaggerated estimate of his child's merits, or from a selfish shrinking from the cost it might require to mature them, is anxious to arrive at a conclusion not founded upon the intrinsic claims of the case to ...
— Thoughts on Man - His Nature, Productions and Discoveries, Interspersed with - Some Particulars Respecting the Author • William Godwin

... will not do that, I think," replied von Schalckenberg. "He is a cruel, unscrupulous, and absolutely selfish man, but, if I have read his character aright, we shall also find that he is far too much of a coward to ...
— With Airship and Submarine - A Tale of Adventure • Harry Collingwood

... efforts were without avail, and owing to the nature of its constitution, it was all but impossible to bring public opinion to bear upon its proceedings, so that the only vestige of independence shown was when a collision occurred between the selfish interests of those in whose hands ...
— The Story Of Ireland • Emily Lawless

... very well. She has so many strange ideas about things. Wayne thinks you and she would get on famously. She doesn't seem afraid of anything and wants to do such a lot of things to the world. I'm afraid I'm selfish; I'm so happy in my own life—it's all so wonderful—that I can't get as excited about the world ...
— The Visioning • Susan Glaspell

... "For purely selfish reasons," he replied. "I take it you will not be so keen on the chase. Men in your position don't ...
— The Motor Pirate • George Sidney Paternoster

... him that there had been a misunderstanding, and that the shame which he had suffered had been all my fault, because I had been absent for my selfish pleasure at the moment when I might have saved him by a simple ...
— Oriental Encounters - Palestine and Syria, 1894-6 • Marmaduke Pickthall

... go grew on me from day to day. It was hard to think of leaving mother and the children, but freedom is sweet and I wanted to make more of the opportunity and my life than I could see possible around home. Besides I suppose, I was a little selfish as mortals are prone to be. Finally the desire to go out in the world grew so strong that I mentioned it to mother, but she did not give me much encouragement, and I don't think she thought I had the courage to go, and besides I had ...
— The Life and Adventures of Nat Love - Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick" • Nat Love

... there succeeded a theatre less diffusive, a population more concentrated, a character of action more determinate and jealous, a style of courtly ceremonial more elaborate as well as more haughtily repulsive, and universally a system of interests, as much more definite and selfish, as might naturally be looked for in a nation now everywhere surrounded by new thrones gloomy with malice, and swelling with the consciousness of youthful power. This new and final state of the eastern Rome Mr. Finlay denominates ...
— Theological Essays and Other Papers v1 • Thomas de Quincey

... explicit statement. "I believe Gwen is acting under an unselfish impulse, and I do not believe in unselfish impulses. If a girl is to run counter to the wishes of her parents, and to obvious common sense, at least let her impulse be a selfish one. Let her act entirely for her own sake. Gwen made your son's acquaintance under peculiar circumstances—romantic circumstances—and, as I know, instantly saw that his eyesight might be destroyed and that the blame would ...
— When Ghost Meets Ghost • William Frend De Morgan

... her past life—the barrier between us, which the change in our names and the lapse of ten years had raised, must have been broken down; the recognition must have followed. But I never even thought of it; and for this simple reason—I was in love with her. The purely selfish idea of winning my way to her favorable regard by taking instant advantage of the new interest that I had awakened in her was the one idea which occurred to ...
— The Two Destinies • Wilkie Collins

... am so greatly indebted. It may be that it might satisfy Daphne, full of kindness as she is, to devote herself, body and soul, to the service of her helpless companion. But I? Far from thinking constantly, like her, solely of others and their welfare, I should only too often, selfish as I now am, be mindful of myself. But when I realize who I am, I see before me a blind man who is poorer than a beggar, because the scorching flames melted even the gold which was to help him ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... shoulders. These dark streams of humanity passing her in the street, these beasts of men, these hairy-breasted toilers, had found in her and her kind the strength or the incentive to endure, to build, to go on. And one of them, stupid, selfish, merciless, a man whom she had really loved, who could have made her better, to whom she had gone with only hope for him and unselfish abnegation for herself—he had put a vile interpretation upon her appeal, he had struck her before a callous ...
— The U.P. Trail • Zane Grey

... how then can I deserve eternal torment? Had I known good and evil, seeing them as thou seest them, then chosen the evil, and turned away from the good, I know not what I should not deserve; but thou knowest it has ever been something good in the evil that has enticed my selfish heart—nor mine only, but that of all my kind. Thou requirest of us to forgive: surely thou forgivest freely! Bound thou mayest be to destroy evil, but art thou bound to keep the sinner alive that thou mayest punish him, even if it make him no better? ...
— Unspoken Sermons - Series I., II., and II. • George MacDonald

... still on the coal-scuttle, making a fresh discovery about himself. He had known before that he had a selfish disposition, though he had never thought about it particularly; but he hadn't known that it was in him to grudge Denis anything—Denis, who was consciously more to him than anyone else in the world. Lucy was different; ...
— The Lee Shore • Rose Macaulay

... his cynicism, is a kind-hearted man. It gave him a great deal of pleasure to see a girl and a boy in a condition of almost delirious happiness. But he felt that they ought not to be entirely selfish. They intended, apparently, to go off after luncheon, to a distant part of the island, accompanied by Kalliope, whom they could not well shake off. Gorman did not want to be left alone all ...
— The Island Mystery • George A. Birmingham

... Englishmen not exceeding in amount the population of a third-rate city, the English nation is not of opinion that this arrogant and vaunting moiety of a class privileged for the common good, swollen though it may be by some jobbing Scots and rebel Irish, shall pass off their petty and selfish schemes of personal aggrandisement as the will of a great people, as mindful of its duty to its posterity as it is grateful for the labours of its ancestors. The English nation, therefore, rallies for rescue from the degrading ...
— Sketches • Benjamin Disraeli

... to be great. That I should be his first thought! Dear dear fellow! But I ought to give him up. I ought not to be a drag on him. It would not be fair on him. I can love him and watch him all the same; but oh, how dreary it will be to have no Sunday afternoons! Is this selfish? Is this worldly? Oh, help me to do right, and hold to what is best ...
— That Stick • Charlotte M. Yonge

... how the desire to possess more than enough, for the selfish pleasure of saying, "It is mine!"—how the growth of selfishness in the world; the love of killing nature's younger sons for food and pleasure increased; how the love of ease and forgetfulness of others and of duty to mother nature—how all these things ...
— The Strange Little Girl - A Story for Children • V. M.

... poignant moved him; his thoughts centered on that other matter—the cause of Miss Van Rolsen's apprehensions—the while those emotions that had held him a listener behind the curtain in her library again stirred in his breast. He had not played the eavesdropper for any selfish purpose or through a sense of personal apprehension. The sudden realization of his own danger, had, perforce, awakened in him the need for quick action ...
— A Man and His Money • Frederic Stewart Isham

... Mr. Grim," began she, breathing hard, and steadying herself against the table at which she stood, "that you were a very selfish man—an embodiment of selfishness, absolute and supreme, but I did not believe that you ...
— A Good-For-Nothing - 1876 • Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen

... a boy, Samuel," said Mrs. Hignett, "lamentably lacking in consideration for others and concentrated only on your selfish pleasures. You seem to ...
— Three Men and a Maid • P. G. Wodehouse

... be with other boys and like other boys. People talk of your minister, how good he is; and of Mrs. Mitchell, and that splendid boy Frank who died. And I hear of all you do for the poor people, and about the Lady. Aunt Osla has a heap to tell about her. I think I would not be so selfish and so foolish as I am if I could talk to some of you Lunda folk, and see how you live. But I must obey Uncle Brues, and I must not annoy him; so it's hard to see how I can clear up matters unless I go on the 'war-path,' and you help me to manage ...
— Viking Boys • Jessie Margaret Edmondston Saxby

... is powerless. And the vices which, if not subdued, were yet curbed and restrained by the overawing sense of an unseen omnipresent Power, will burst forth with devastating fury, snapping asunder the feebler fetters of human law, and overleaping the barriers of selfish prudence itself; vanity and pride, ambition and covetousness, sensual indulgence and ferocious cruelty, will rise into the ascendancy, and establish their dark throne on the ...
— Modern Atheism under its forms of Pantheism, Materialism, Secularism, Development, and Natural Laws • James Buchanan

... seen how the politicians were turning the state religion into a tool for the accomplishment of their own selfish ends, and how the masses of the people were seeking satisfaction for their religious needs in sensational foreign worships, introduced from Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria, and Persia. We must now see whether any efforts were being made by any members of the community in behalf of the old religion, and ...
— The Religion of Numa - And Other Essays on the Religion of Ancient Rome • Jesse Benedict Carter

... conscious self-possession. To-day it is no easy and attractive business to bring our strong qualities to the surface; it implies an amount of conviction which it is hard to attain, and self-depreciation means a pitiful faint-heartedness. But all sham goods offered by babblers, by selfish interests, prophets of hate and ...
— The New Society • Walther Rathenau

... may better things be brought to pass? To share in the civilization that has come from nineteen hundred years of the work of the Church, and to be unwilling to lift a pound's weight of the present burden, in order to pass on to others our precious heritage, is certainly a selfish and unworthy course. It is better to ask, What is my work in the upbuilding of the Church? What can I do to further the Royal Progress of ...
— The Warriors • Lindsay, Anna Robertson Brown

... of Lazarus, on the stroke of midnight, on your father's tomb and on your father's violin.' That, dear, was how I came to write you the letter that brought you to Perros. How could I have been so beguiled? How was it, when I saw the personal, the selfish point of view of the voice, that I did not suspect some impostor? Alas, I was no longer mistress of myself: I had ...
— The Phantom of the Opera • Gaston Leroux

... and her consent!" said Mr. Driver, snapping his fingers. "Doll is ever so much too good for them—well, not for him; he is an honest, straightforward fellow: but as for that selfish, silly, purse-proud old woman, she may thank Heaven if she gains a ...
— The Thin Red Line; and Blue Blood • Arthur Griffiths

... help, good, acceptable and a common prayer, or a work of the Holy Day and of the assembled congregation, which they make who make their own petty prayers, one for this, the other for that, and have nothing but self-seeking, selfish prayers, which God hates? ...
— Works of Martin Luther - With Introductions and Notes (Volume I) • Martin Luther

... least in as much demand as his ability, and that for downright argument his speeches could not for one moment be compared to those of Mr. Denison. But having a bad case to begin with, and having to make a selfish arrangement between two railway companies appear a great public advantage, he certainly, by his quiet skilful touches, turned black into white before the committee with remarkable neatness. His reply on the whole case was another flood of rosewater eloquence, which rose gently over ...
— Memoirs of James Robert Hope-Scott, Volume 2 • Robert Ornsby

... selfishness vot der vorld make pad. It was being ignorant und selfish vot crime und bofferty pring to der many und vealth und ease to der few. Der beoples tondt see dot. Tey tondt know vot Anarchy mean. It vas all rest, all peace, nopoddy pad, no var, no bestilence. Dot is ...
— Tin-Types Taken in the Streets of New York • Lemuel Ely Quigg

... I know," he continued. "You will believe me. All my life I have laboured for science. I have never been selfish. I have laid up no store of gold or treasure. Knowledge has been my mistress, knowledge has been my heaven. If I had been a wise man, I would have ridden myself of this hideous burden, but I was foolish and afraid. I wanted to pursue my studies, I wanted ...
— The Black Box • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... white man of the South has been interested in the Negro from a selfish point of view. He must now become interested in him from a humanitarian point of view. He must be interested in his educational, moral and religious welfare. We know that we have many ignorant, vicious, and criminal Negroes, which are a disgrace to any people, but ...
— Twenty-Five Years in the Black Belt • William James Edwards

... the soul sicken, and the face blanch with horror; would not any honest man deliver this department of Jeff Davis' most efficient allies into the hands of the United States Government, by any means Heaven might place in his power? If there is a man so fastidious of propriety, so mindful of selfish considerations, that he would not, then, in our opinion, that man is a coward, a traitor, an imbecile too weak to punish, and deserving the scorn and contumely of his countrymen, for all coming time. ...
— The Great North-Western Conspiracy In All Its Startling Details • I. Windslow Ayer

... shall be the effect produced upon his character by almost any discipline you can think of. And a solitary life may make a man either thoughtful or vacant, either humble or conceited, either sympathetic or selfish, either frank or ...
— The Recreations of A Country Parson • A. K. H. Boyd

... Alice, who loved Mrs. Goff so well that she had often told her as many as five different lies in the course of one afternoon to spare her some unpleasant truth, and would have scouted as infamous any suggestion that her parent was more selfish than saintly, soon burst into tears, declaring that she would not return to the castle, and that nothing would have induced her to stay there the night before had she thought that her doing so could give pain at home. This alarmed ...
— Cashel Byron's Profession • George Bernard Shaw

... Roman power (Luke xiii. 1-9); and it was probably in reply to such an appeal as accompanied this report of Pilate's cruelty that Jesus spoke the parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke xviii. 1-8), teaching that God's love may be trusted to be no less regardful of his people's cry than a selfish man's ...
— The Life of Jesus of Nazareth • Rush Rhees

... position, character, and wealth placed his family among the leaders of the very exclusive society of Charleston. His children were accustomed to luxury and display, to the service of slaves, and to the indulgence of every selfish whim, although the father's practical common-sense led him to protest against the habits to which such indulgences naturally led. To Sarah he paid particular attention, and was often heard to declare ...
— The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 3 • Various

... you to stay here, Sydney. I'm selfish to ask you, but I haven't seen you much lately, I've been so ...
— A Tar-Heel Baron • Mabell Shippie Clarke Pelton

... You open to me the prospect of paridisic futurity. I shall be active in the promoting the benefit of my country, and rise superior to dirty, narrow, selfish views! recompensed by your approbation, your joys, and sometimes by your tears. Your gentle hand shall reach me the petitions of the wretched, the widow, and the orphan,—and my abilities shall be called forth in their behalf. O Sophia! ...
— The Lawyers, A Drama in Five Acts • Augustus William Iffland

... be in the way when we wanted some fun, or would look down on us because we're poor. That," glancing at her crutches, "makes some people mild and sweet-tempered, they say, but it only makes me hatefuller and selfisher every day! Lol, I'm going to tell you something so you'll see what a selfish thing I am. I swallowed that gumdrop on purpose so I wouldn't have to vote! I didn't have the courage to vote against her because you were so ...
— Peggy-Alone • Mary Agnes Byrne

... is the exact opposite of what I had been accustomed to regard as noble and good. We see that in this world egotism alone commands success. England has until within the last few years been the first nation in the world because she was the most selfish. Germany has acquired the hegemony of the world by repudiating without scruple the principles of political morality which she once so ...
— Recollections of My Youth • Ernest Renan

... ascertain what were the best means for satisfying those wants. Fewer still bent their whole energies to the one paramount aim of getting what they wanted in the fullest possible measure. Her scheme of life was not a wholly selfish one; no one could understand what she wanted as well as she did herself, therefore she felt that she was the best person to pursue her own ends and cater for her own wants. To have others thinking and acting for one merely meant that one had to be perpetually ...
— When William Came • Saki

... several years; taller, darker, soured by a great disappointment—so 'twas said—loved my Lord Benneville with all the affection his selfish nature allowed. And Benneville returned it frankly, in his open boyish fashion. They were ever together, and their adventures and daring escapades more than once nearly threw them into serious trouble. ...
— The Statesmen Snowbound • Robert Fitzgerald

... the principles that govern universal nature. The temper of Thucydides is lofty and even; though never genial, he is always calm and accessible; though often sublime, he is never pathetic; too grand to be sarcastic, he is also too proud to be selfish. ...
— Continental Monthly - Volume 1 - Issue 3 • Various

... for the sake of our selfish interests, my dear captain, to find you so loyal to your owners' financial interests," the supercargo replied heartily. "Now that you have decided to remain, I need not point out to you the danger of a resignation at this time. It might lead to some unlooked-for developments ...
— Cappy Ricks Retires • Peter B. Kyne

... natural manner conceivable, the last act of "King Lear."' In fact, this family calamity was rather a cheerful subject among Devereux's friends; and certainly Devereux had no reason to love that vicious, selfish old lunatic, Lord Athenry, who in his prodigal and heartless reign, before straw and darkness swallowed him, never gave the boy a kind word or gentle look, and owed him a mortal grudge because he stood near the kingdom, and wrote most damaging reports ...
— The House by the Church-Yard • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... meant no harm, but the man did. He is worse than any beast that ever was born; he is a cruel, cunning, selfish devil; and if I had been a man he should ...
— A Terrible Temptation - A Story of To-Day • Charles Reade

... envy and English hatred. It was not initiated by Edward VII. It has survived his death. To assume that England would have been capable of isolating Germany by her own single efforts, and in order to serve her own selfish purposes, is to attribute to England a power which she does not wield. If there has been a conspiracy, France, Italy, Russia, and the United States, inhabited by twenty million citizens who are German by birth or by descent, have all been willing accomplices. The Triple Entente has ...
— German Problems and Personalities • Charles Sarolea

... the dog profited. Shep had been giving her such unremitting attention, his wistful brown eyes following each forkful as it went from plate to mouth, that Janet's consciousness of her selfish situation kept bearing in upon her till now every bean carried reproach with it. Thinking to convince him that it was only beans, and not desirable, she put him down a forkful from her own too generous allowance. She ...
— The Wrong Woman • Charles D. Stewart

... for that, sir," Chester said, rising to take leave, "but, ungenerous as it sounds, I cannot help hoping that, one of these days, I may be able to shift your position to the second place, taking the first myself. It sounds dreadful selfish, but fathers have to give way to lovers and husbands if the human race is to continue. I hope to be here in the morning, captain, a little after nine o'clock, with a carriage, to take Miss Lu to the wharf where the boat will ...
— Elsie at Home • Martha Finley

... my ghost," exclaimed Bonaparte, laughing. "Look at this selfish woman, she does not wish me a hero's death, lest I should appear to her here in the shape ...
— The Empress Josephine • Louise Muhlbach

... to send her this; 'Twill s'prise her so, you see. That won't be selfish, for I know She'll ...
— Dew Drops, Vol. 37, No. 7, February 15, 1914 • Various

... adopt a measure, nor hastily abandon it. The plan struck out by him for the preservation of Europe was the result of prophetic wisdom and profound policy. But though defeated in many respects by the selfish ambition and short-sighted imbecility of foreign powers, whose rulers were too venal or too weak to follow the flight of that mind which would have taught them to outwing the storm, the policy involved in it was still a secret operation on the conduct of surrounding ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 10, - Issue 269, August 18, 1827 • Various

... concerning these virtues: all these figures indeed illustrating the tritest copybook maxim of all—that "Example is better than Precept." Thus Charles Lamb praises the Plays of Shakespeare as "enrichers of the fancy, strengtheners of virtue, a withdrawing from all selfish and mercenary thoughts, a lesson of all sweet and honourable thoughts and actions, to teach courtesy, benignity, generosity, humanity: for," say he, "of examples, teaching those ...
— Poetry • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... administrations in America."[83] The foreign-born congregate in the large cities, especially the mass of unskilled laborers. There they easily come under control of leaders of their own race, who use them to further selfish ends. Fraudulent naturalization is another evil result. There is no more dangerous element in the Republic than a foreign vote, wielded by unscrupulous partisans and grafters. The immigrant is not so much to blame as are those who corrupt ...
— Aliens or Americans? • Howard B. Grose

... on the whole, was worthwhile. Life was not the mockery she had thought it three days ago. There was room for her, after all, in this crowded selfish world of pleasure whence, so short a time since, her poverty had seemed to exclude her. These people whom she had ridiculed and yet envied were glad to make a place for her in the charmed circle about which all her desires ...
— House of Mirth • Edith Wharton

... suffering purifies us, then we may console ourselves or suffering. This is what makes the great advantage of the Christian faith; it is the triumph over pain, the victory over death. There is but one thing necessary—death unto sin, the immolation of our selfish will, the filial sacrifice of our desires. Evil consists in living for self—that is to say, for one's own vanity, pride, sensuality, or even health. Righteousness consists in willingly accepting one's lot, ...
— Amiel's Journal • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... health, in this realm afflicted with many sores that you alone can heal and dangers that you alone can ward off, so we have it assured and certain that many too great labours and matters laid upon you imperil us all. In that, as well for our selfish fears as for the great love, self-forgetting, that we have of your person, we pray you that—coming now to the trial of this your wife—you do rest, though well assured we are that greatly and courageously ...
— The Fifth Queen Crowned • Ford Madox Ford

... brook or a shady grotto in the woods. He loved books, flowers, music, green meadows, shady woods, and fields white with daisies. He had been reared among kind-hearted, honest, God-fearing people who seldom locked their doors at night and who believed in and lived by the Golden Rule. The selfish and distrustful life of a great city, with its arrogance and wealth and vanity of display, was not akin to him, and to put himself at the beck and call of a mercenary and utterly unscrupulous old villain, as ...
— Uncle Terry - A Story of the Maine Coast • Charles Clark Munn

... Mr. Perkins. "And you're going to be glad, Johnnie, when the day comes that Grandpa closes his eyes for the last time, that you decided to do your duty. And you'll never have anything selfish or sad or mean to try to forget." He held out his hand and gave Johnnie's fingers a ...
— The Rich Little Poor Boy • Eleanor Gates

... "Selfish little girl!" said grandma, looking keenly at Dotty's troubled face. "You would expect Prudy to return every cent, if she were in ...
— Dotty Dimple's Flyaway • Sophie May

... Betty. "In spite of sickness and danger and selfish people, I love this country on an evening like this. What do you think we ought to do about telling your aunts, Bob? I knew Grandma would ask ...
— Betty Gordon in the Land of Oil - The Farm That Was Worth a Fortune • Alice B. Emerson

... was his custom, between his teeth. 'Commend me to such devotion. Not content with depriving you of a father, now forsooth she must bereave you of a lover too! And this is a mother, a devoted mother! The cold-blooded, sullen, selfish, inexorable tyrant!' ...
— Venetia • Benjamin Disraeli

... he had made in life must now stand without addition or correction. His thoughts went back as far as he could remember anything, and every act of his life was clearly recalled. How mean some of them now appeared; how thoughtless, indifferent, or selfish he had been in others. Latterly how he had been filled with a sense of his own importance, how he had worked and schemed for a little popularity, and now who would regret him, or give his memory more ...
— Under the Great Bear • Kirk Munroe

... philosophic or scientific friends discuss weighty themes; to hear his sane, wise, and often humorous comments on the daily papers, and his absolutely independent criticism of books and magazines—to witness and experience all this, and more, is to enjoy a privilege so rare that I feel selfish unless I try to share it, in a measure, with less fortunate friends of ...
— Our Friend John Burroughs • Clara Barrus

... through an injury to her spine, an accident occurring while she was fixing the saddle of her riding horse. As she grew older she was confined to her room. To move from a bed to a sofa seemed a perilous adventure requiring a family discussion. Her father was a strange unaccountable man, selfish and obstinate, and passionately jealous of the affection of his children. In the meantime Miss Barrett had written poetry that attracted the attention of a kindred spirit. Robert Browning in 1845 wrote to her saying that he had once nearly met her and that his sensations ...
— Stories of Authors, British and American • Edwin Watts Chubb

... old bachelor; he had never loved anything in this world but himself. He was an egotist, too lazy to do any one an ill turn, but at the same time too selfish to do any one a kindness, unless it would tend directly to his own advantage. And yet, with an air of complaisance, as if he desired nothing so much as the comfort of those around him, he consented to his niece's proposal, in the hope that she would do many little kind offices for him, which would ...
— International Short Stories: French • Various

... species of complacent satisfaction, with which men like-minded with himself are ever found to regard the misfortunes of others, when they themselves can by no possibility be prejudiced thereby. This selfish old villain, therefore, instead of evincing any sympathy, was highly amused at what was going on, and every now and then passed some remark or other indicative of those feelings, of which the following, amongst others, afford a pretty ...
— Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 365, March, 1846 • Various

... or his pupil. This class corresponds closely to the first, except that the development has been for evil instead of good, and the powers acquired are used for purely selfish purposes instead of for the benefit of humanity. Among its lower ranks come members of the negro race who practise the ghastly rites of the Obeah or Voodoo schools, and the medicine-men of many a savage tribe; while higher in intellect, and therefore the more blame-worthy, ...
— The Astral Plane - Its Scenery, Inhabitants and Phenomena • C. W. Leadbeater

... movements, spend, and then withdraw, just as they have done enough to excite their poor wives' passions without satisfying them, and thus leaving them a prey to inordinate longing that forces them to seek the relief to their passions the selfish brutes of husbands ...
— The Romance of Lust - A classic Victorian erotic novel • Anonymous

... and he in return gives me a well-ordered dinner served with the minimum amount of inconvenience to myself that his circumstances allow. Many folks make what they are pleased to call unconventionality a mere cloak for selfish disregard of the feelings and tastes of others. Bohemianism too often means piggish ...
— The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne • William J. Locke

... Mary Falla did not spend her money that day, but took it home all safe and sound, to gain time for consideration on so important a subject. No selfish thoughts mingled with her calculations, and therefore she very soon came to the decision that it should go towards a pair of stockings for her grandmother; and happy in the hope of giving pleasure, she only longed for the accumulation of a little store sufficient to buy the necessary materials, ...
— Adventures of a Sixpence in Guernsey by A Native • Anonymous

... to the house an hour earlier in full agreement with Mr. Letterblair's view; but put into words by this selfish, well-fed and supremely indifferent old man it suddenly became the Pharisaic voice of a society wholly absorbed in barricading ...
— The Age of Innocence • Edith Wharton

... do not spoil things, I find that the machines about me everywhere have made most people very strange and pathetic in the woods. They cannot sit by brooks, many of them; and when they come out to the sky, it looks to them like some mere, big, blue lead roof up over their lives. Perhaps I am selfish about it, but I cannot bear to see people looking at the sky ...
— Crowds - A Moving-Picture of Democracy • Gerald Stanley Lee

... Mrs. Procter understood the child's unspoken wish. In a moment Maizie was held close to her mother's breast, and was looking up into her mother's tender eyes. And the mother was thinking. Was mother love selfish then in its inclusion? Weren't there little ones outside hungering for cuddling? How children went to the heart of things! She thought suddenly and perhaps irrelevantly of her husband's invention upon which he poured his heart's best treasures. And yet not once had he ever mentioned ...
— Suzanna Stirs the Fire • Emily Calvin Blake

... on the outcome, forty-eight hours was a time too brief for proper consideration. Serbia could hardly summon her statesmen in that time. Nevertheless the little country, realizing the awful peril that impended, and that she alone would not be the sufferer, bravely put aside all selfish considerations and practically all considerations of national ...
— History of the American Negro in the Great World War • W. Allison Sweeney

... "you do not love me! No man can know what love is who talks about doubts and scruples like you do! You are too cold and too selfish to realize what love can be! And to think that I have stopped to reason, to reason with you! Oh! my God! What have I done to be ...
— Berenice • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... glanced at it a moment, and then tossed it across the wharf. "What right have you and I to be going back to dinner when that girl hasn't enough to eat?" he said. "You know what those cigars cost me. Lord, what selfish brutes we are! Now stop right here and tell me what we are ...
— Alton of Somasco • Harold Bindloss

... said slowly. "I haven't forbidden her to see you. I asked her to wait. I wanted a few moments. You see, it is not often that I have a Cardew in my house, and I am a selfish man." ...
— A Poor Wise Man • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... kind. He quotes the saying of Sancho Panza, who desired to possess an island in order that he might sell its inhabitants as slaves, and put the money in his pocket; and he maintains that the chief cause of our Colonial Empire is the selfish interest of the governing few who valued colonies because they gave them places and enabled them to multiply wars. In more moderate and decorous language, Goldwin Smith wrote a book, the object of which was to show how desirable it was that this Empire should be gradually but steadily reduced ...
— Historical and Political Essays • William Edward Hartpole Lecky

... and, in that case, the anthropologist cannot well do it for them. But every primitive society thinks witchcraft bad. Witchcraft consists in leaguing oneself with supernormal powers of evil in order to effect selfish and anti-social ends. Witchcraft, then, is genuine magic—black magic of the devil's colour. On the other hand, every primitive society also distinguishes certain salutary ways of dealing with supernormal powers. ...
— Anthropology • Robert Marett

... as ornamental there as a cue, if not more so. In short, there was nothing rare, or choice of its kind and within the bestowal of the Hunter's Paradise, which did not, sooner or later, find its way to the hands or feet, to the head or back, or to the selfish little belly of master Sprigg. But these were trifling indulgences compared with others, and would, in all likelihood, have left upon his disposition no other lasting evil effect than to render him overwatchful of his own ease and comfort. ...
— The Red Moccasins - A Story • Morrison Heady

... branches of the trees and the tops of the tall nettles, agitated by the gusts from the mountain hollows, were beating in their faces, for enthusiasm is never scoffed at by the noble, simple-minded, genuine Welsh, whatever treatment it may receive from the coarse-hearted, sensual, selfish Saxon." ...
— George Borrow - The Man and His Books • Edward Thomas

... occurred. The Senora threw off the nightmare of selfish sorrow and spiritual sentimentality which had held her in bondage. She took the cigarito from her lips with a scornful air, and repeated the ...
— Remember the Alamo • Amelia E. Barr

... Nelly was not selfish, and though she felt that she must go forth, she was anxious that her granny should not again face the cruel storm. The dame, however, was determined to go, for she felt ...
— Michael Penguyne - Fisher Life on the Cornish Coast • William H. G. Kingston

... of his eyeballs so that you can see the pupils glow, the same as an animal's when your motor head-lights hit them! It's like taking a little match and starting a prairie-fire and watching the flames creep and spread until the heavens are roaring! I wonder if I'm selfish? I wonder? But I can't answer that now, for it's supper time, and your Tabby has the grub ...
— The Prairie Wife • Arthur Stringer

... Yankees. The squadron sailed in September. I bade adieu to the nymphs of Nova Scotia with more indifference than became me, or than the reception I had met with from them seemed to deserve; but I was the same selfish and ungrateful being as ever. I cared for no one but my own dear self, and as long as I was gratified, it mattered little to me how many broken ...
— Frank Mildmay • Captain Frederick Marryat

... never forgive myself, if you do not come back," she said one day, when they were alone. "I cannot but feel that I have been selfish, and that really, on the strength of a conviction which most people would laugh at as whimsical and absurd, I am risking the substance for a shadow, and am imperilling the life of my only boy, upon the faint chance that he may find my husband. I know that even your uncle, although ...
— The Tiger of Mysore - A Story of the War with Tippoo Saib • G. A. Henty

... saying," answered Ermengarde. She clasped her hands; there was a stronger, better look than Basil had ever noticed before on her pretty face. "Mother's eyes are saying, 'You have been very selfish, Ermie, and very——' What is ...
— The Children of Wilton Chase • Mrs. L. T. Meade

... refusal to show the photograph could not fail to place her in an unfavorable position. Either she would appear to distrust this man whom she had no reason to distrust, or her action would be attributed to a selfish intention to keep the secret to herself, even though she knew she could only file one claim. The man's argument had been entirely reasonable—in fact, it seemed the sensible thing to do. Nevertheless, she ...
— The Gold Girl • James B. Hendryx

... my words. 'T was a moment's selfish forgetfulness of you and of my own position, that shall not occur again." Mobray stooped and kissed a loose end of the handkerchief the girl held, ...
— Janice Meredith • Paul Leicester Ford

... communities, and states are frequently swayed by this emotion to the extent of deliberately perverting the truth. The evidence found in newspapers and other publications is often false, or at least misleading, because it has been tampered with by those who put their selfish interests before all else. The owner of an industry protected by a high tariff would scarcely be considered a reliable witness in matters affecting tariff reform. The opinion of a railroad magnate on the subject of a compulsory two-cent rate law would ...
— Practical Argumentation • George K. Pattee

... extremities, are the rule rather than the exception. If the body of the child is developed to the greatest perfection of which it is capable we shall not often find a too sensitive nervous system. The boy of fine physique may have many faults. He may be bad-tempered or untruthful or selfish, but such faults as he has are as a rule more primitive in type, more readily traced to their causes, and more easy to eradicate than the faults which spring from that timidity, instability, and moral flabbiness which has so often developed in the lax delicate child ...
— The Nervous Child • Hector Charles Cameron

... has this incalculable advantage (to me) over every other magazine in existence: it is mine (mine and my partners', i.e., partly mine), and I shall not work to build up a good piece of machinery and then be turned out to graze as an old horse is. This of course, is selfish and personal—not wholly selfish either, I think. I threw down the Atlantic for this reason: (Consider the history of its editors) Lowell[5] complained bitterly that he was never rewarded properly for the time and work he did; Fields was (in a way) one of its owners; it was sold out from under ...
— The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, Volume I • Burton J. Hendrick

... the new system enables the elector of the country to be more reasonably represented in the House, still there are some ambitious politicians urging for their own selfish purpose to restore the old system. But, as almost all prominent members in both Houses are fully cognizant of the relative merits and demerits of the two systems, there is not much chance of our returning ...
— Proportional Representation - A Study in Methods of Election • John H. Humphreys

... proofs of proficiency in a special examination. It was commonly thought in the form that Owen would get the first of these prizes, and Eric the other; and towards the approach of the examination, he threw his whole energy into the desire to win. The desire was not selfish. Some ambition was of course natural; but he longed for the prize chiefly for the delight which he knew his success would cause at Fairholm, and still ...
— Eric • Frederic William Farrar

... BRAY (Mr.), a selfish, miserly old man, who dies suddenly of heart-disease, just in time to save his daughter from being sacrificed to Arthur ...
— Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1 - A Revised American Edition of the Reader's Handbook • The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.

... band of unscrupulous men who seek no higher end than their personal aggrandizement, they compromise their own civil and political freedom, and put in jeopardy the industrial progress of the south. The bane of the South today is her selfish and misguided political leadership, the men who will not scruple to sacrifice upon the altars of their insatiable ambition for power every interest linked with her economic prosperity and all consideration for civic virtue by which alone ...
— The Disfranchisement of the Negro - The American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers No. 6 • John L. Love

... deeply concerned to see amongst his countryfolk a gradual slackening of family ties, a widespread selfish individualism amongst women, an abdication of duty and authority amongst men. His views about women sound outrageous to-day, chiefly because he wants to apply them to all women without distinction; and also because they display a total want of consideration for the ...
— Home Life in Germany • Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick

... let you take her in a minute," He said, "but dad made me promise that I would never loan the Swallow to anyone. It is not that he wants me to be selfish, but he says if anything should happen, if the car should be broken, or if there should be an accident and some other boy hurt, I would sort of feel that ...
— Battling the Clouds - or, For a Comrade's Honor • Captain Frank Cobb

... such moments we seem to see the man behind the veil—the really loveable nature which could know as well as simulate feeling. And, indeed, it is this quality which makes Pope endurable. He was—if we must speak bluntly—a liar and a hypocrite; but the foundation of his character was not selfish or grovelling. On the contrary, no man could be more warmly affectionate or more exquisitely sensitive to many noble emotions. The misfortune was that his constitutional infirmities, acted upon by ...
— Alexander Pope - English Men of Letters Series • Leslie Stephen

... from each other, and defiled in their passage through this lower world, do each assume a form in human nature of very great evil: the exclusive and corrupted love of truth and justice becomes in man selfish atheism; the exclusive and corrupted worship of beauty and love becomes in man a bloody ...
— The Christian Life - Its Course, Its Hindrances, And Its Helps • Thomas Arnold

... unexpected occurrence would merely serve to strengthen them," she replied quickly. "I cannot conceive of any love so supremely selfish as to retard the development of a worthy ideal. But really, there is small need yet of ...
— Beth Norvell - A Romance of the West • Randall Parrish



Words linked to "Selfish" :   self-serving, self-loving, egocentric, unselfish, inconsiderate, self-centred, self-seeking, selfishness, egotistic, egotistical, stingy, selfish person, narcissistic, egoistic, self-centered, ungenerous, egoistical



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