Meaning of “themselves” in the English Dictionary


"themselves" in English

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uk /ðəmˈselvz/ us /ðəmˈselvz/

A2 used when the subject of the verb is "they" or a group of people, and the object is the same group of people:

They asked themselves where they had gone wrong.
Did the children enjoy themselves at the party?

used for emphasis when the subject is "they":

They themselves had no knowledge of what was happening.
(all) by themselves

alone or without help from anyone else:

Young children should not be left by themselves.
They collected the evidence all by themselves .
(all) to themselves

for their use only:

They had the whole campsite to themselves.

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(Definition of “themselves” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"themselves" in American English

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themselvespronoun [ pl ]

us /ðemˈselvz, ðəm-/

the people being spoken about, the reflexive form of they:

The girls made themselves sandwiches for lunch.

Themselves is sometimes used to emphasize the subject or object of a sentence:

The police themselves apologized for overreacting.
(all) by themselves

If people do something (all) by themselves, they do it alone or without help from anyone:

The children set up the tent all by themselves.
They were left by themselves.
to themselves

If people have something to themselves, they have it for their own use only:

When their youngest child went off to college, they had the whole house to themselves.

(Definition of “themselves” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)