Definition of themself in English:



  • [third person singular] Used instead of ‘himself’ or ‘herself’ to refer to a person of unspecified sex.

    ‘the casual observer might easily think themself back in 1945’
    • ‘But what we're finding is the individual themself is having a hard time making that transformation to pick up another skill.’
    • ‘I just checked my email and received quite a nasty one from someone who was practically wetting themself because I hadn't replied to an earlier email.’
    • ‘Minefields flank the road edge, marked by red-painted rocks, and any driver unlucky enough to misjudge one of the treacherous bends will find themself in the middle of one.’
    • ‘If you work for someone who is so unsure of themself that it causes them to overreact or be spiteful or devious, it's unlikely that you're going to change them.’
    • ‘Does anyone else walk around the house talking to themself?’
    • ‘In the words of the Mayor, ‘it's hard to argue with someone trying to feed themself’.’
    • ‘It is one of the most interesting occupations that anyone could find themself in.’
    • ‘I feel it is those who are left behind that suffer the most emotional pain when a relative or someone close to them kills themself.’
    • ‘I really wondered why someone would want to do this to themself?’
    • ‘Obviously, if someone is involved in an accident and injures themself seriously then yes, they are entitled to monetary compensation for that injury.’
    • ‘As Remnick pointed out, it is impossible to imagine any former British prime minister subjecting themself to such an indignity, and it is to be hoped that no future one will put up with it, either.’
    • ‘Why doesn't everyone just buy themself something they really like and be done with it?’
    • ‘Some of the most talented artists in the area belong to this group and I would encourage anyone with an interest to go along to see the formidable talent for themself.’
    • ‘I hope no-one else ever finds themself in this position.’
    • ‘This is natural; anyone would find themself thinking similar thoughts.’
    • ‘What kind of person blows up themself and other citizens of their country (often including children)?’
    • ‘Anyone who's found themself trying to navigate life's day-to-day reality in a foreign culture will relate to Ko's means of reflecting displacement.’
    • ‘Here, a young person who wants to blend into a different type of society may fit perfectly well and express themself in a number of real-life extracurricular activities.’
    • ‘Despite keeping his faith closely guarded, he threw himself into the Hare Krishna movement with the enthusiasm of a college kid who'd just dropped out and then found themself again.’
    • ‘It can certainly take over your life, but at the same time, studies have shown that someone who's depressed may use pot to make themself feel better.’


The standard reflexive form corresponding to they and them is themselves, as in they can do it themselves. The singular form themself, first recorded in the 14th century, has re-emerged in recent years corresponding to the singular gender-neutral use of they, as in this is the first step in helping someone to help themself. The form is not widely accepted in standard English, however. For more details, see they