Definition of “itself” - English Dictionary

british dictionary

“itself” in British English

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uk /ɪtˈself/ us /ɪtˈself/

A2 used when the subject of the verb is "it" and the object is the same thing, animal, situation, or idea:

The cat licked itself all over.
You have to do something about the problem - it isn't just going to resolve itself.

B1 used to emphasize the subject when it is a thing, animal, situation, or idea:

The shop itself (= only the shopand nothing else) started 15 years ago but the internet side of the business is new.
(all) by itself

alone or without help:

The animal had been left in the house by itself for a week.
A cough will usually get better by itself.
(all) to itself

for its use only:

The committee kept the results of the survey to itself (= did not tell anyone), fearing a bad public reaction.

More examples

  • The company has made a valiant effort in the last two years to make itself more efficient.
  • Press this button and the video will automatically tune itself to the next channel.
  • The kitten curled itself into a ball .
  • The government must commit itself to improving healthcare.
  • The city is trying to promote itself as a tourist centre.

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

“itself” in American English

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us /ɪtˈself, ət-/

the thing or animal being spoken about; the reflexive form of it:

The cat licked itself all over.

Itself can also used for emphasis:

The company itself is 15 years old, but the mail order business is new.
That in itself (= without considering anything else) was quite an achievement.

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