Definition of self-flagellation in US English:



  • 1The action of flogging oneself, especially as a form of religious discipline.

    • ‘Members carry out self-flagellation for their sins.’
    • ‘Asceticism and self-flagellation mortified the flesh.’
    • ‘During Holy Week they engaged in self-flagellation and conducted mock crucifixions.’
    • ‘Some Opus Dei practices, like self-flagellation, had been imported from monastic practice.’
    1. 1.1 Excessive criticism of oneself.
      • ‘While such realizations have left me listless and leaning towards self-flagellation for the past couple of years, I have managed this week to revive my spirit.’
      • ‘That kind of thing sends head teachers into a state of massive self-flagellation, though, so you have to pitch it right.’