themselves Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “themselves” in the English Dictionary

"themselves" in British English

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themselvespronoun

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)
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