Entries linking to self-seeking
Old English self, sylf (West Saxon), seolf (Anglian), "one's own person, -self; own, personal; same, identical," from Proto-Germanic *selbaz (source also of Old Norse sjalfr, Old Frisian self, Dutch zelf, Old High German selb, German selb, selbst, Gothic silba), Proto-Germanic *selbaz "self," from PIE *sel-bho-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (referring back to the subject of a sentence), also used in forms denoting the speaker's social group, "(we our-)selves" (see idiom).
Its use as the second element in compounded reflexive pronouns (herself, etc.) was in Old English, from the original independent (and inflected) use of self following personal pronouns, as in ic selfa "myself," min selfes "of myself." With a merging of accusative, dative, and genitive cases.
As a noun from c. 1200 as "the person or thing previously specified;" early 14c. as "a person in relation to that same person." G.M. Hopkins used selve as a verb, "become or cause to become a unique self" (1880) but its use seems to have been restricted to poets.
Middle English sēchen "go in search or quest of; strive for, try to attain," from Old English secan, seocan "search for; pursue, chase; long for, wish for, desire; look for, expect from," influenced by Old Norse soekja, both from Proto-Germanic *sokjanan (source also of Old Saxon sokian, Old Frisian seka, Middle Dutch soekan, Old High German suohhan, German suchen, Gothic sokjan).
This is reconstructed to be from PIE *sag-yo-, from root *sag- "to track down, seek out" (source also of Latin sagire "to perceive quickly or keenly," sagus "presaging, predicting," Old Irish saigim "seek"). The natural modern form of the Anglo-Saxon word, had it not been influenced by Norse, is in beseech. Related: Sought; seeking.
By late Old English as "ask a question." Seek-sorrow (1580s) was an old term for "a self-tormentor, one who contrives to vex himself." Seek-no-further (or farther) as the name of a type of eating apple is by 1660s.
updated on April 19, 2022