"inherent fitness for all ends and purposes and independence of others," 1620s, originally also an attribute of God (translating Greek autakreia); see self + sufficiency. Of mortals, "ability to supply one's own needs," it is implied by 1580s (compare self-sufficient). Sometimes formerly also "an overweening opinion of one's talent or worth" (1690s).
[I]n law, the act of forcibly resisting a forcible attack upon one's own person or property, or upon the persons or property of those whom, by law, one has a right to protect and defend. [Century Dictionary]
in reference to things, "destroy itself automatically;" see self- + destruct, apparently first attested in the U.S. television series "Mission Impossible" (1966). Self-destructive "having the property of annulling itself" is recorded from 1650s, and self-destruction "destruction of oneself, suicide" is attested from 1580s; self-destroying (n.) is from 1610s.
"restraint of one's desires," 1711, from self- + control (n.). Coined by English moral philosopher Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713). Related: Self-controlled; self-controlling. He also used self-command "that equanimity which enables one in any situation to be reasonable and prudent" (1690s).
1680s, "aware of one's action or oneself," a word of the English Enlightenment (Locke was using it by 1690, along with self-consciousness "state of being aware of oneself, consciousness of one's own identity"), from self- + conscious. The morbid sense of "preoccupied with one's own personality, conscious of oneself as an object of observation to others" is attested by 1834 (J.S. Mill). Related: Self-consciously.
1680s, "determination of mind; determination by one's own will or powers without external influence," from self- + determination. The political sense, action of a people in deciding its statehood and form of government," is attested by 1911, popularized 1918 by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in reference to the settlement of World War I. The idea itself is from 19c., and Churchill compared Fichte's Selbst bestimmung. Related: Self-determined; self-determining.
"sacrifice of what commonly constitutes the happiness of life for the sake of duty or higher motive," 1650s; see self + sacrifice (n.). Adjective self-sacrificed attested from 1711. Related: self-sacrificing.
Self-sacrifice goes beyond self-denial in necessarily including the idea of surrender, as of comfort, inclination, time, health, while being also presumably in the line of a real duty. [Century Dictionary]
"evident in itself without proof or reasoning; producing clear conviction upon a bare presentation to the mind," 1680s, from self- + evident. First in Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding." In Jefferson's rough draft of the American Declaration of Independence (1776), the word is written, in Franklin's handwriting, in place of the stricken out phrase sacred and undeniable. Related: Self-evidently; self-evidence; self-evidencing (1650s).
A self-addressed envelope is one on which is written or printed the writer's address. A letter in which the writer asks for a reply for his own exclusive benefit should enclose a self-addressed envelope. ["Smithdeal's Practical Grammar, Speller and Letter-writer," 1894]
Self-denial is to be presumed wise, necessary, or benevolent, unless indication is given to the contrary ; it may be the denial of selfishness; it may be not only the refusal to take what one might have, but the voluntary surrender of what one has ; it may be an act, a habit, or a principle. [Century Dictionary]
Related: Self-denier; self-denying (adj.) is by 1630s as "involving self-denial," also "characterized by or involving denial of one's self."