Meaning of “yourself” in the English Dictionary

"yourself" in British English

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uk strong /jɔːˈself/ weak /jəˈself/ us /jʊrˈself/ /jɚˈself/ plural yourselves

yourself pronoun (PERSON/PEOPLE ADDRESSED)

A2 used when the subject of the verb is "you" or the person being spoken to, and the object is the same person:

Be careful with that knife or you'll cut yourself!
Katie, control yourself!

A2 used for emphasis when the subject is "you":

Did you make the dress yourself?
You can do that yourself.
be yourself

to behave in your usual manner, rather than behaving in a way you think other people might like:

The best thing you can do is to go into the interview and just be yourself.
(all) by yourself

A2 alone or without help from anyone else:

I'm amazed you managed to move those boxes all by yourself.
Do you like being by yourself sometimes or do you get lonely?
(all) to yourself

for your use only:

So you have the whole house to yourself this weekend?
not be/seem/feel yourself

not to be, seem, or feel as happy or healthy as usual:

Why don't you go home early if you're not feeling yourself?
in yourself

UK informal used when asking someone about their state of mind when they are physically ill:

I know you must still be uncomfortable, but how are you in yourself?

More examples

  • I'm ready to go home now but I don't want to drag you away if you're enjoying yourself.
  • "Might I have some more bread?" "Please, help yourself!"
  • Don't even think about lifting me up, Ted, you might do yourself an injury.
  • "I don't think I'll come to the party tonight." "All right, suit yourself!"
  • So it's finally clicked that you're going to have to get yourself a job, has it?

yourself pronoun (PEOPLE GENERALLY)

B2 used when both the subject and object of the verb are "you" and "you" is also being used to refer to people generally:

You tell yourself everything's all right but you know it's not really.

More examples

  • Acting is very competitive - you've got to really push yourself if you want to succeed.
  • Treat minor ailments yourself.
  • Taking responsibility for yourself is part of the process of growing up.
  • Mispronunciation can be a serious obstacle to making yourself understood in a foreign language.
  • Time passes so quickly when you're enjoying yourself.

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

"yourself" in American English

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us /jərˈself/ plural yourselves /jərˈselvz/

the person or people being spoken to; the reflexive form of you:

Be careful with that knife or you’ll cut yourself.

Yourself is sometimes used to emphasize the subject of the sentence:

Did you girls actually raise this money yourselves?
(all) by yourself

If you do something (all) by yourself, you do it alone or without help from anyone:

You’re old enough to take the bus by yourself, aren’t you, Joyce?
(all) to yourself

If you have something (all) to yourself, you have it for your use only:

Now that Neil and Sam are away, you’ve got the whole house to yourself.

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