word forming element indicating "oneself," also "automatic," from Old English use of self (pron.) in compounds, such as selfbana "suicide," selflice "self-love, pride, vanity, egotism," selfwill "free will."
c. 1400, stertour "instigator; one who starts," agent noun from start (v.). Mechanical sense is from 1875. For starters "to begin with" is 1873, American English colloquial. Starter home is from 1976; starter set is from 1946, originally of china.
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Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of self-starter. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/self-starter