Definition of self-defeating in US English:



  • (of an action or policy) unable, because of its inherent qualities, to achieve the end it is designed to bring about.

    ‘courage without wariness is ultimately self-defeating’
    ‘the self-defeating quality of much human behavior’
    • ‘It's sort of like an appendage, and no matter how burdensome or self-defeating it is, it's just there.’
    • ‘Nothing could be more futile and self-defeating than such a strategy.’
    • ‘Attempts at censorship are, in any case, self-defeating.’
    • ‘Making ourselves and our allies invisible out of protest is self-defeating.’
    • ‘Last week, I explained how violent acts of revolution would be self-defeating.’
    • ‘It looks to me like this silliness is rather quickly morphing into being both destructive and self-defeating.’
    • ‘Like most prejudice, it's not only baseless, it's self-defeating.’
    • ‘Why engage in artistic efforts at all if they are essentially futile and self-defeating and devoid of truth?’
    • ‘Given its findings, wouldn't that be a bit self-defeating?’
    • ‘It's rough and tumble and often self-defeating, but at least it's democratic.’
    • ‘It seems to me that the idea is rather self-defeating.’
    • ‘Such action is immoral, and it may also be self-defeating.’
    • ‘The desperate drive for selfish gains is self-defeating.’
    • ‘Rather than being self-defeating, successful players are their own best friends.’
    • ‘We cannot give in to nihilism or self-defeating subjectivism.’
    • ‘Also, as we have seen in Japan and elsewhere, prosperity is self-defeating.’
    • ‘Seldom will so much hot air have been expended by so many for such a meanly self-serving and self-defeating result.’
    • ‘There is something very self-defeating in being immoral on principle.’
    • ‘If you value a higher number of automobiles on the highways and also assign high scores to clean air, it is more self-defeating criteria.’
    • ‘I suggested to him that the party's policy was self-defeating.’



/ˈˌsɛlf dəˈfidɪŋ//ˈˌself dəˈfēdiNG/